When surveying suppliers, is it only acceptable to conduct inquiries using the CMRT or its equivalent, or can a company ask suppliers for a declaration that the products do not contain minerals that originated in the DRC or adjoining countries?
In order to demonstrate that a reasonable country of origin inquiry (RCOI) and proper due diligence has been conducted, it may be necessary to identify SORs of all applicable minerals and the origin of ores and materials used at the SORs. For companies downstream of SORs, such information is hard to obtain, making it difficult to identify materials’ country of origin and this will be required in the Conflict Minerals Report (CMR) if a company’s products are not described as “DRC conflict-free”. Also, requiring non-covered country materials may lead to a de facto embargo of covered countries, which is not in alignment with the mission of RMI.
To demonstrate that products do not contain 3TG that finance or benefit armed groups, in addition to the above, all identified SORs should be validated by the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process or other mutually recognized auditing programs (see Question 49). In other words, even though companies downstream of SORs obtain a non-use certificate, it may not be considered sufficient due diligence unless SORs have been identified. Furthermore, forcing suppliers to submit documents such as non-use declarations may encourage a de facto boycott of the covered countries, which is not in alignment with the mission of RMI. Accordingly, it is recommended that companies use the CMRT or its equivalent to identify smelters or refiners.
- Covered minerals are tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold
- Mutually recognized auditing programs include at this time the LBMA Good Delivery program and the RJC Chain-of-Custody Certification
Adjoining countries includes countries that shares an internationally recognized border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There are nine of these countries: Angola, Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia.