SEC Moves Conflict Minerals Requirements Forward, While Critical Minerals Amendment In Limbo

Last week’s MetalMiner Conflict Minerals webinar, sponsored by Aravo, generated a number of questions from manufacturing organizations on how to successfully comply with the SEC requirements stemming from the Dodd-Frank legislation. (Those who missed the webinar can register to watch it here.) Lawrence Heim, who led the webinar, will appear on an SEC panel today, Oct. 18, to discuss the steps required to comply with the rule. Heim will specifically participate in a discussion on tracking the supply chain, the audit for a conflict minerals report, and timing.   According to Heim, the final rules to comply with the legislation will be released later this year.

Critical Minerals Bill to Go to Mark-up?

Last week, we reported on an amendment to the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform bill, specifically one involving critical minerals, that Senator Harry Reid killed. The majority leader would not permit any amendments to the bill. “The fall out was a virtual halt to all legislation as the Senate had a minor meltdown, said Jeff Green, a well-known rare earth and specialty metals lobbyist.  But our friends in Washington remain optimistic about a possible vote on the bill.

Robert Dillon, the Republican communications director of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in an email to MetalMiner: “Sen. Murkowski’s critical minerals bill has 19 cosponsors, including nearly every Democratic member of the Senate Energy Committee. The bill is waiting for a markup in the Energy Committee, which means it has had a hearing and now needs the approval of the committee before it goes before the full Senate. Negotiations on a markup are ongoing with Sen. Bingaman’s staff. We are hopeful that they will agree to a markup soon.

Jeff Green shares a similar level of optimism, provided legislation begins to move again. Green also believes the Murkowski bill will eventually make its way to the Senate floor, though he adds a caveat: “The odds of it passing greatly improve with [Sen. Murkowski’s] Chairman’s support (Sen. Bingaman – D-NM).”

Now, whether Senator Bingaman will throw his support in the ring remains to be seen. These days, political capital seems like a high-stakes game in Washington.

–Lisa Reisman

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