Earlier this year, the European Commission published a recommendation in relation to the non-binding guidelines for the identification of conflict-affected and high risk areas and other supply chain risks under the new Conflict Minerals Regulation.[1]

The Conflict Minerals Regulation, which will apply from 1 January 2021, lays down supply chain due diligence obligations for importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten and their ores, and gold originating from conflict-affected and high risk areas, frequently referred to as “conflict minerals”.

Under Article 14(1) of the Regulation, the European Commission (in consultation with the European External Action Service and the OECD) will prepare non-binding guidelines for economic operators explaining how best to apply the criteria for the identification of conflict-affected and high risk areas.

The European Commission has recommended that importers into the EU and other entities applying due diligence to their mineral supply chain “should follow the non-binding guidelines” as these will help them to comply with the Regulation.

The guidelines, which are annexed to the recommendation, provide a useful overview of specific due diligence processes and tips for identifying conflict-affected and high risk areas, and red flags which prompt enhanced due diligence.

[1] Regulation (EU) 2017/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council