On January 31, Acting Chairman Piwowar directed staff to reconsider 2014 Guidance on Conflict Minerals. He said in part
While visiting Africa last year, I heard first-hand from the people affected by this misguided rule. The disclosure requirements have caused a de facto boycott of minerals from portions of Africa, with effects far beyond the Congo-adjacent region. Legitimate mining operators are facing such onerous costs to comply with the rule that they are being put out of business. It is also unclear that the rule has in fact resulted in any reduction in the power and control of armed gangs or eased the human suffering of many innocent men, women, and children in the Congo and surrounding areas. Moreover, the withdrawal from the region may undermine U.S. national security interests by creating a vacuum filled by those with less benign interests.
Given these facts on the ground, I believe that it is essential to hear from interested persons on all aspects of the rule and guidance.
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