Author Archives: Brad Brooks-Rubin

ok computer album cover


In the seminal song “No Surprises” from Radiohead’s 1997 classic “OK Computer,” Thom Yorke observes an unhappy modern citizen, resigned to conform with society’s expectations. In the end, that citizen simply asks for a life with “no alarms and no surprises.”

Having talked to many company officials dealing with Dodd-Frank Section 1502 reporting, I sense that many could relate to the song’s theme. The SEC Conflict Minerals Law came as an enormous shock to the system, and the deadline of May 31, 2014, looms ever larger. At this point, companies seek to ease the difficulty and integrate this into the other compliance realities they face.

As manufacturing companies rightly focus on the “X”s and “O”s of establishing their compliance systems, analyzing responses from suppliers and requests from customers, and compiling their Conflict Minerals Reports (CMRs), they would do well to spend a few minutes with a recent NGO report concerning expectations for the coming reports. After all, although companies submit CMRs to the Securities and Exchange Commission, it is the NGOs who will provide a primary level of review and translate the impact of the reporting for the media, public, and many in Congress.

In addition to reiterating the need for engagement with in-region sourcing, manufacturers, in particular, may find a few points of interest:

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conflict minerals compliance


The last post in a series of a guest viewpoint on conflict minerals compliance from Brad Brooks-Rubin, Of Counsel at Holland & Hart LLP.

Manufacturers must explore and understand their options for staying and remaining engaged in the DRC region, even if it impacts their initial SEC reporting. How can companies do this? I outlined a few ways in the previous post; but here are a few more ideas:

3. For those in industries beyond electronics and a few others, encourage trade associations to be more active and to provide joint platforms for sharing information – and costs.

Compliance with Section 1502 (and the possible EU regulations) is certainly complex and potentially quite costly. The OECD Due Diligence Guidance, highlighted by the SEC in its regulations, encourages cooperation across industries to share compliance experiences and information about what is happening on the ground.

RELATED: How to Build Responsible Supply Chains.

The electronics, automotive, aerospace, and retail industries, among others, have established vibrant working groups (and in recent months launched the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative).

As a result, many companies in these industries have advanced their compliance approaches and in-region engagement. If your industry has not established such a group, encourage the trade associations to do so.

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MetalMiner welcomes a guest viewpoints on conflict minerals compliance from Brad Brooks-Rubin, Of Counsel at Holland & Hart LLP.

In the first couple posts of this series (Part One and Part Two), we established the dilemma facing companies as they consider compliance with section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act/the SEC’s conflict minerals rule (and, it should be said, possible future EU regulations): direct your suppliers to ensure none of the relevant minerals come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or the Great Lakes Region and likely make reporting to the SEC easier; but in so doing, undermine the ultimate purpose of the law and face likely scrutiny for abandoning the region.

Check out MetalMiner’s Conflict Minerals Resources – white papers, toolkits and more.

So, as the Clash asked in their classic song, should a company stay or should it go? Although some companies are reportedly being advised to go and err on the side of being “Congo-free,” my view is that companies must explore and understand their options for staying and remaining engaged in the region, even if it impacts their initial SEC reporting.

How can companies do this? Here are a few ideas.

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MetalMiner welcomes a guest viewpoint from Brad Brooks-Rubin, Of Counsel at Holland & Hart LLP, on conflict minerals compliance.

Leaving the DRC now to make conflict minerals compliance cheaper and simpler will only double your company’s trouble, as I began laying out here.

At present, a number of positive and potentially game-changing efforts are underway on the ground to develop conflict-free supply chains. It is true that the conflict in the DRC will not be eradicated solely through the efforts of these activities, but most informed observers have recognized that achieving the goal of the conflict minerals law depends in large part on their success.

That is, because extraction of these minerals is largely undertaken by artisanal miners, the long-term and sustainable solutions to the problem rest on the implementation of approaches and interventions that prioritize economically viable sustainable development, which reduce the vulnerability of the miners, their communities, and the mining sector as a whole to exploitation and conflict.

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MetalMiner welcomes a guest viewpoint from Brad Brooks-Rubin, Of Counsel at Holland & Hart LLP, on conflict minerals compliance.

Anyone listening to music in 1982 (and at many a nightclub since) knows well the famous dilemma: Should I stay or should I go? Beyond the initial question, as the song goes, there are the consequences: If you stay there will be trouble, but if you go, it will be double.

Although this was not exactly what the late Joe Strummer and the Clash were singing about, this same question and dilemma face companies examining their supply chains in light of Dodd-Frank section 1502, aka the Conflict Minerals Law. On one hand, companies understand that the point of the law is to ensure that purchases of minerals in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region do not support armed rebels or rogue factions of national armies.

So, they may rightly presume, the best approach to the complex task of identifying mineral sources is simply to direct your suppliers (and their suppliers, and their suppliers’ suppliers, and so on) to cease purchases from the DRC and the region. That’s what this is all about, right? Won’t the advocates and policymakers be patting these companies on the back?

Not so fast.

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We would like to some time out this week to thank our sponsors for a great 2012. Looking forward to an even better 2013!

Here are just a few things our sponsors have been up to over the past year, according to (and condensed from) the companies’ websites.

Nucor (Lead sponsor)

  • Daniel R. DiMicco, who in more than 12 years as Chief Executive Officer led Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) through one of its most profitable growth periods and a total shareholder return of 463.9%, announced that he is passing this responsibility on to current President and Chief Operating Officer, John J. Ferriola
  • Nucor entered into a long-term agreement with Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. for an onshore natural gas drilling program in the continental United States that the company believes will ensure a reliable, low-cost supply of natural gas for existing and expected future needs for more than 20 years
  • The steel company also completed the acquisition of the membership interest of NJ-based Skyline Steel LLC and its subsidiaries for the purchase price of approximately $605 million

D&B (Lead Sponsor)

  • D&B announced the results of its year-end global economic outlook, with the results confirming not only the sluggish global growth anticipated at the start of the year, but the pressing headwinds many markets continue to face heading into 2013
  • The company announced the US/China launch of Tradeportal.dnb, enabling B2B buyers and sellers to gain insight and have greater confidence about doing business with each other
  • They also launched D&B Compliance Check, a solution providing organizations advanced screening and monitoring of customer and supplier business practices to ensure global regulatory compliance with a growing range of global anti-fraud and corruption regulations

FULLSTEP (Associate sponsor) 

  • Go no further than Fullstep’s lively LinkedIn Sourcing Forum to see what those spend optimizers have been up to!

Are you a manufacturer interested in sponsoring MetalMiner and tapping into the largest online metal-buying audience? Find out how!

Each month, MetalMiner publishes an MMI® report that contains 10 metal indexes that take into account our global metals economy — three of which examine underlying metals markets supporting the automotive, construction and renewables industries.

But like everything that MetalMiner produces, the MMI® report contains more than just numbers.

You’ll also find the same straight-shooting analysis and commentary you’ve come to expect. For instance, in this month’s report (which you can sign up for and download below) MetalMiner looks towards 2013, and offers what we think you can expect.

Speaking of, remember to check back for the January MMI® report very soon. If you’d rather we just send it to you when it’s available–along with future MMI® reports–be sure to indicate that in the form below.

Overall MetalMiner Metal Price Index Trends Jan-Dec 2012 graph

MMI © MetalMinerTM. All rights reserved.

This report includes:

  • 10 original MMI® Indexes originally published starting on Dec. 1 (watch this space for Jan. 2013 release), covering steel, stainless, base metals (aluminum, copper), rare earths, automotive, renewables and construction sectors
  • Exclusive, previously unpublished MetalMiner analysis and commentary
  • Complete historical charts of MMI® trends
  • Note: The GOES (grain-oriented electrical steel) MMI® is published during the 3rd week of the month.
  • Advance data available through a subscription to the MetalMiner IndX℠

To obtain the free report, kindly fill out the form below.

Want to know the metal price trends from previous months? Click below for archived reports!

metalminer newsletter gunpowderThis summer, MetalMiner decided to bring back its trusted newsletter, GUNPOWDER.

Published on a bi-weekly basis, GUNPOWDER will keep you up to date on all things metal and MetalMiner in 2013.

In our last issue, we noted the top trending stories on MetalMiner, the biggest metal movers and shakers for that week, and the metals we think you should be watching right now:

Rare Earth Metals:
The FT ran a story recently citing MetalMiner data that showed the rare earth complex still suffering from oversupply and low prices. To wit, a day after the FT story was published, the China price of cerium dropped 13.5 percent, and lanthanum bombed 15.7 percent downwards. Even though our December Rare Earths MMI® increased, rare earths price increases may not be sustainable.

Raw Material Inputs:
In China, daily crude oil imports and iron ore imports are robust, with iron ore prices jumping up accordingly. On Friday, Dec. 21, the Chinese coking coal price jumped 2.9 percent, its first considerable uptick in weeks. We’ll see if infrastructure projects in China can support the demand for these raw materials and, consequently, steel production.

In another section of the newsletter, we discussed a recent Financial Times article–concerning Molycorp’s finances, falling rare earths prices and other challenges the new interim chief executive is facing—that used MetalMiner as a key source for the current and historical prices of rare earths: cerium oxide and lanthanum oxide (both are main products of the company).

So, what else can you expect from GUNPOWDER? Check it out:

  • Notes from the MetalMiner crew on events, recent news, and the metals to watch.
  • Links to all of the latest Monthly MMI Reports
  • New metals sourcing research available for download
  • Links to new webinars, recordings, and/or videos
  • Trivia and, of course, humorous videos

Sign up today!

MetalMiner's Conflict Minerals Legislative Guide

Source: Elm Consulting

It has been a few months since the SEC passed its comprehensive set of “Conflict Minerals” rules, and in that time we have covered the topic at great length.

But the steps manufacturers must take to comply with the conflict minerals legislation in 2013 and beyond are only beginning to come into the light.

As Lisa Reisman noted on the day of the initial ruling, the rules will require “companies and their supply chains purchasing the group of metals called ‘Conflict Minerals’ (this group of metals includes: tantalum and columbite-tantalite or coltan, tin and cassiterite, tungsten and wolframite, gold and their derivatives) to file annual audited statements by May 1 of each year.”

In an effort to alleviate some of the stress felt by manufacturing organizations and others affected by the new legislation, Elm Consulting created a Conflict Minerals Legislative Guide that we would like to share with you, our readers.

Within the guide, you will not only find a general overview of the new rules, but also some advice on what to your company should do in the next 12 months.

You may register to receive the guide right here:

Legislative Guide Download



metalminer indx home pageWe here at MetalMiner are pleased to announce that, in the month of December alone, we have added over 50 new metals to our MetalMiner IndX℠ – putting us close to having 750 metal price points in our system.

Check to see if we track the prices you need!

With more prices being added daily — and yes, we take requests for specific metal prices from our subscribers very seriously — the application now includes more stainless steel surcharges than any other pricing service and delivers to subscribers the only GOES prices, bar fuel surcharges, and US copper producer prices.

MetalMiner IndX℠ is definitely worth checking out. But don’t take our word for it — if you’re interested in seeing a free demo of the application, please sign up today! 

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