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Responsible Mineral Supply Chains

BMZ assumes chair of the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM)

Miners working in a mine in Colombia

07.07.2020 |

As a multi-stakeholder initiative, the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM) is the central accompanying measure to the EU conflict minerals regulation. EPRM connects different actors along the supply chains of the minerals tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (also called 3TG) and promotes responsible mining and sourcing of these minerals. In order for the EU regulation to have a real impact on the ground in producing countries, EPRM, together with local partners, supports projects in the mining countries that improve working conditions and resource management on site. The broad alliance of industry, civil society and governments also facilitates dialogue and knowledge transfer on due diligence between actors in the mineral supply chain.

The partnership currently involves three governments (Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom) and 27 companies and civil society organisations. Germany - represented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) - has been a member of the partnership since January 30. BMZ has now also take over the chairmanship of the initiative until the end of 2020 and will continue to promote important issues relating to responsible mineral supply chains. During the chairmanship, attracting more members to the initiative will be a central concern, especially through the involvement of other governments.

During its current EU Council Presidency, Germany is committed to promote resilient supply chains and to strengthen corporate social responsibility in global supply chains (Programme for Germany's Presidency of the Council). With the Dodd-Frank Act, the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and various standard initiatives, voluntary and binding standards for responsible raw material sourcing already exist. The extractive sector will also be one of the few sectors with EU-wide regulation, when the EU conflict minerals regulation will start to apply in 2021.

The Extractives and Development Sector Programme (SP) will support the BMZ in its role as chair and the associated tasks. For example, it is involved in the examination of project proposals received in the context of the annual EPRM project call for proposals. The SP also supports the (further) development of the EPRM Due Diligence Hub. This online platform is primarily intended to support small and medium-sized companies in implementing their due diligence obligations. The hub provides comprehensive information on 3TG's supply chains and tailored due diligence guidance.

Background: The EU conflict minerals regulation
In conflict regions, raw materials are often mined illegally and in disregard of minimum social standards, such as the ban on child labour or forced labour. In some countries, the extraction of and trade in certain minerals has helped to fund violent conflicts. This can prolong or reignite conflicts. The EU conflict minerals regulation creates a binding regulation in the EU that requires importers of 3TG from conflict or high-risk regions to fulfil due diligence obligations in certain supply chains. As soon as the transitional period of the EU regulation expires and the regulation is applied on 01.01.2021, all EU importers of 3TG must ensure responsible procurement and prove that their imported raw materials  have not contributed to the financing of conflicts. At the regulatory level, too, affected states must build up their capacities for implementation and monitoring of the regulation. In many countries this task is handled by the respective customs authority. In Germany, a respective national law was passed and the inspection body Deutsche Kontrollstelle EU-Sorgfaltspflichten in Rohstofflieferketten (DEKSOR) was established within the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) for that purpose.

For further information please contact Shari Leinen or Hannah Maul.

 

 

 

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