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The Securities and Exchange Commission may soon be passing a new rule that requires companies to monitor and keep records of the origins of certain kinds of metals that are used in their products. The new rule comes as part of the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the new rule will require that “American companies that file with the SEC disclose their use of ‘Conflict Minerals’ in the tin, tungsten, tantalum or gold in any of the products that they make.” The new measures are intended to weaken regional military leaders in Africa — specifically, the Democratic Republic of the Congo — who are constantly fighting to control the mines where the metals originate so they can use the profits to benefit themselves and bolster their armies. These precious metals are found in all types of products including jewelry, airplane engines, and especially electronics.
No matter your opinion on whether these new requirements are too burdensome or not, the fact remains that all companies will have to follow the stricter regulations once they become law. With millions of electronic devices such as mobile phones and computers being assembled from various parts made in factories all over the world, it will be difficult for companies to certify that they are in compliance with the new regulations across their entire global supply chain.
Guidepost Solutions has the global network and resources necessary to ascertain the origin of the minerals that our clients use in their products. Our investigators will examine every link in the supply chain to determine the source of any minerals that may trigger the required disclosures. With the new regulations, companies will need to certify that they are “DRC Conflict-Free.” If Guidepost certifies that your company is in compliance, you can rest assured that our thorough investigation and reporting will stand up to any challenges.
If Conflict Minerals are found to be used in a client’s business, Guidepost can advise on what must be done to comply with the SEC’s conflict minerals rules. We will draft a Conflict Minerals Report that completely conforms to the requirements outlined by the SEC, and, if desired, we can even consult with the company on a strategy to remove the Conflict Minerals from a client’s manufacturing chain.
Kenneth Citarella is senior managing director for the Investigations and Cyber Forensics practice at Guidepost Solutions LLC. He has more than 30 years of experience investigating and prosecuting white collar crime and computer crime.