To product safety and electromagnetic compatibility compliance, add another regulatory hurdle for electronics manufacturers.  To assure “conflict minerals” are not imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring conflict areas, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered companies will have to start documenting the source and purpose of Congo-related raw materials.

The affected minerals include:

  • Tin (cassiterite)
  • Coltan (columbite-tantalie)
  • Tungsten (wolf-ramite)
  • Gold
  • Any other mineral the U.S. Secretary of State wants to add

From coltan, tantalum is extracted and used to manufacture electronic capacitors.  It can be found in video game systems, cell phones, digital cameras, CD players, computers and pacemakers. Tungsten is used to make cell phones vibrate and the biggest use of tin worldwide is in electronics on circuit boards.

The exact timing of when compliance to this Title XV provision of the recently-passed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act isn’t known, although the act stipulates that regulations must be finalized by April 2011.  Prior to that, there will be a public comment period.  In the meantime, the SEC is soliciting unofficial public comment here.

National security applications have up to a two-year exemption.

Do you think this new data collection requirement is justified, or is it just a political move that adds an unnecessary regulatory hurdle?

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