2011 Begins: Part One – Conflict Minerals and EPA Emissions

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Happy New Year! As the saying goes, it’s good to be back in the saddle again (some of you may have caught the news that we welcomed our third son Simon on December 3). In between feedings, and admittedly, the baby’s and my nap schedule, many significant developments in the world of industrial metals occurred which we did not have the opportunity to cover on the site. Over the course of two posts, we’ll highlight those we feel will have the most significance to metal buying organizations in 2011 and beyond and dive into many of these stories over the coming days. First, let’s focus on where industry meets public policy.

The story: Industry groups move to clean up sourcing of Ëœblood minerals’ comes as a result of the enactment of the Frank-Dodd financial reform bill requiring US corporations to “state whether they source ‘conflict minerals’ from both Congo and neighboring countries and “report on steps taken to exclude conflict sources from their supply chains, backed by independent audits, according to a post on MetalMiner quoting The Enough! Project.

Why we think it is significant: This article points to two separate initiatives taken by manufacturers using a range of metals in their high-tech products. One initiative involves a “Conflict-Free Smelter Program that aims to “¦identify smelters that can demonstrate through an independent third-party assessment that the raw materials they procured did not originate from sources that contribute to conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the story. The second initiative, called a “bag and tag program, certifies the origin of materials sources from the DRC. According to the article, “under the program, tags would follow the minerals offshore, certifying they had not been extracted from conflict mines. In this post, MetalMiner offers up additional means of complying with the legislation.

The story:
Battle Brews over EPA’s New Emissions Regulations and The EPA’s War on Texas highlight the likely drawn-out legal battles already unfolding, relating to the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Why we think it is significant: No matter the side of the debate anyone personally sits on with regard to greenhouse gas emissions, protracted legal battles will continue to create business uncertainty. According to the Businessweek article, “Unlike carbon cap-and-trade legislation, which would have fixed a limit on greenhouse-gas emissions, the regulations will focus on pushing plants to run at higher levels of efficiency or use cleaner fuels by requiring them to use the best available technology to reduce emissions. Of course, these regulations will require additional capital investments with costs getting passed down to consumers, whether they’re large metal producers or consumers.

MetalMiner and its sister site, Spend Matters, along with Nucor, will host a live simulcast, International Trade Breaking Point on March 1, 2011.  If your company sources products from overseas, you will not want to miss this half-day event:

Register for the live simulcast today!

Lisa Reisman

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