An April 2014 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision determined that portions of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC" or "Commission") Conflict Minerals Rule (the "Rule") violated the First Amendment. Because of that decision, the Commission issued a stay on the compliance date for portions of the Rule that were found to be unconstitutional.
Since the Appeals court decision, litigation in the case has continued and the temporary transition period found within the Rule has expired. As of January 1, 2017, all applicable issuers fall outside the terms of the transition period.
With that as background, on January 31, acting SEC Chairman Michael S. Piwowar issued a public statement on the Rule. In his statement, acting Chairman Piwowar announced that he has asked his staff to consider the continued appropriateness of the 2014 Commission guidance and whether any additional relief from the Rule is warranted.
In an additional statement Chairman Piwowar discusses the negative impact the Rule has had on legitimate mining operators and questions whether or not the rule has 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."
Chairman Piwowar is asking for public comments, over the next 45 days, on the rule and on the 2014 guidance. Click here to access the SEC comment page.
- Statement of Acting Chairman Piwowar on the Commission's Conflict Minerals Rule
- Additional statement from Acting Chairman Piwowar
- Commission order issuing stay
- 2014 Statement on the Effect of Court of Appeals Decision on the Conflict Minerals Rule
- SEC Conflict Minerals FAQs page
- United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision in National Association of Manufacturers, et al. v. SEC, et al., No. 13-5252 (D.C. Cir. April 14, 2014)
- Submit Comments on Acting Chairman Piwowar's Public Statement