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CFS names conflict-free tin smelters

Keywords: Tags  tin, conflict-free minerals, SEC, tantalum, gold, tungsten, Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, EICC Conflict-Free Smelter Program

NEW YORK — A list of tin smelters that are compliant with new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations for sourcing metals was released June 14 by a cross-industry initiative.

So far, five tin smelters—Malaysia’s Malaysia Smelting Corp., Peru’s Minsur SA, Bolivia’s Operaciones Metalúrgicas SA, Indonesia’s PT Koba Tin and Thailand’s Thailand Smelting & Refining Co. Ltd. (Thaisarco)—have completed the audit process and are listed as conflict free, while 11 others are actively undergoing the process, according to the Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS) Program.

Market sources told AMM it is difficult to find the correct information about smelters. "We try to get the information we can, but we’re not sure what’s mandated," one tin trader said.

Consumers have had to rely on brokers and traders to ensure the metals purchased are conflict free, one consumer said. "It’s more of a headache," he added. "The letters are antiquated by the time we get (them), but we can only rely on letters from mines and brokers."

The program, created by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, was established for this reason and aims to help companies navigate how to provide proof of sourcing or find smelters who use conflict-free minerals.

"It’s important to our members that we continue to engage Africa in a way that doesn’t support conflict," CFS program manager Grant Feichtinger said. "The primary goal is to support the mining system in Africa in a responsible way."

EICC contacts industry associations to conduct audits of companies for posting on the group’s website, EICC director of communications Wendy Dittmer said.

"It’s a voluntary program, so it’s up to companies and downstream companies to determine how they want to use it," she said. "They come to this list and say we’re going to only buy from these smelters and refiners. ... It’s our way to show these people are engaged and responsible smelters."

To make smelters more comfortable, a pre-audit visit is conducted before the full program is under way. Dittmer said the public list serves to help consumers and also to place some market pressure on companies to source metals responsibly.

Since last August, the SEC has required companies to report if the tin, tantalum, gold and tungsten they use comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or surrounding countries (, May 31). If it does come from that region—which also includes Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia—companies must make sure purchasing the metals doesn’t fund armed groups in the country. Companies have until May 31, 2014, to provide the report.

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