Legal implementation of the Conflict Minerals Regulation

Anticlinal fold of grey rock with vegetation
Photo: M. Pupp

The Conflict Minerals Regulation of the European Union (Regulation no 2017/821) entered into force on 8 July 2017. The obligations of Union importers have been applicable since from 1 January 2021. Subsequent controls by the competent authorities will start in 2022 and comprise the imports of 2021.

The Conflict Minerals Regulation is directly applicable. By means of the amendment to the Austrian Mineral Resources Act (“Mineralrohstoffgesetz”) (Federal Law Gazette I No 14/2021) accompanying provisions to EU Regulation 2017/821 were created. The Minister entrusted the BMLRT Directorate of Mineral Resources Policy (Directorate IV/5) with the direct implementation. The amendment provides that Union importers have to notify the initial EU imports in Austria to the competent authority by March 31. Furthermore, it regulates how the authority should act if a notification is missing or inadequate or if the ex-post check demonstrates that the Union importer did not meet all provisions of the Conflict Minerals Regulation.

The Federal Ministry of Finance is authorised to communicate the customs and import data falling within the scope of Regulation 2017/821 to the competent authority.

The competent authority is entitled to publish a list of the names and web addresses of the Union importers that are above the thresholds and are therefore subject to the control of the competent authority on the homepage of the BMLRT.