Conflict Minerals Regulation

Brown leave with black mineral powder
Photo: BML / Magdalena Pupp

Short summary of the Regulation (EU) No 2017/821

Regulation (EU) No 2017/821 laying down supply chain due diligence obligations for Union importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores and gold from conflict affected and high-risk areas (Conflict Minerals Regulation) obliges Union importers to identify risks in the field of their supply chains and to take appropriate measures (among other things increased interdisciplinary cooperation and exchange of experience, promotion of a responsible supply chain management) to minimize these risks. In this way a considerable contribution to the avoidance and the financing of conflicts by means of profits from the extraction of and the trade with raw materials, and the severe violations of human rights associated with it, shall be made

EU importers are enterprises, which import minerals or metals for the first time into the EU. As the Conflict Minerals Regulation applies only to imports of unprocessed mineral resources and to resources processed to metals, apart from traders basically only importers for internal use from the field of metallurgical plants and smelting plants as well as from the metal-processing industry can be taken into consideration as those subject to the provisions of this Regulation.

The Conflict Minerals Regulation applies to all those Union importers, whose imports of critical minerals into the EU exceed a certain threshold value. In this way it shall be guaranteed that, on the one hand, at least 95 % of all EU-wide imports fall within the scope of this Regulation, and on the other hand, that small enterprises with low import figures are protected. This Regulation doesn’t apply to scrap and recycling metals. The Conflict Minerals Regulation defines those areas as conflict-affected and high-risk areas where armed conflicts take place, or which are in a fragile situation after conflicts, as well as areas, where governance and safety are weak or do not exist at all. For the purpose of standardisation the European Commission has established a list of conflict affected and high-risk areas, which is updated on a quarterly basis.

Within the framework of a responsible procurement policy the Union importer has to organise his/her supply chain according to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas. In this context the following measures are to be taken:

  1. Development of a management system
  2. Risk assessment in the supply chain
  3. Introduction of a risk management strategy
  4. Independent audit for selected points of the supply chain
  5. Publication

Due to the great number of certification systems already existing on a voluntary basis, and in order to avoid double charging the Conflict Minerals Regulation provides for the recognition of these, already existing, certification systems under certain conditions. The European Commission publishes therefore a regularly updated list with all recognized systems. In the course of this process the European Commission will publish also a list with responsible metallurgical plants and refineries.

The compliance with the due diligence obligations laid down in the Conflict Minerals Regulation by a Union importer is examined by independent third parties (auditors).

According to the Conflict Minerals Regulation each Member State shall designate one or more competent authorities responsible for the application of this Regulation. Austria has designated the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism (BMLRT Bundesministerium für Landwirtschaft, Regionen und Tourismus) as the responsible authority and has informed the European Commission thereof. Within the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism Directorate IV/5 (Mineral Resources Policy) has taken over the task of the responsible authority.

Contact: Directorate IV/5 Mineral Resources Policy, kon​flik​tmin​eral​e@​bmlrt.​gv.​at