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Battle lines drawn as EU Parliament votes on ‘conflict minerals’

May 18, 2015

Battle lines drawn as EU Parliament votes on ‘conflict minerals’

The European Parliament will consider this week whether to follow the United States by bringing in tighter controls on minerals from war zones, but critics say the measures risk being watered down.

Armed groups in areas such as the Democratic Republic of Congo often fund their activities through the sale of precious metals and those used in electronic goods such as laptops and mobile phones.

The European Parliament will vote on a regulation this week that would force the EU's smelters and refiners to use responsibly sourced minerals, while encouraging other businesses to self-certify their supply chains.

The aim is to ensure profits from the key "blood metals" - tungsten, tin, tantalum and gold - do not go to warlords.

It is inspired by the Dodd-Frank Act, a 2010 US financial reform law under which US companies must inform regulators if they use metals from DR Congo or neighbouring countries.

But the conflict minerals have themselves sparked a battle in Strasbourg, the French city that is home to the European Parliament.

Read more at EurActive.

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