* EU to go beyond Kimberley Process, include more than
* EU remains divided over whether the process should be
By Francesco Guarascio
BRUSSELS, Feb 5 The EU's trade chief will
present a voluntary scheme in March aimed at stemming the import
of minerals from conflict zones and prevent mining them from
financing war and strife, EU officials said on Wednesday.
Karel De Gucht's proposal to the European Commission, the EU
executive, will encompass gold, tungsten, tantalum and tin, in
a bid to pressure importers to classify them as coming from
areas free of conflict.
"Work is currently underway to prepare a proposal ... for a
comprehensive EU framework on responsible mineral sourcing in
line with international guidelines," said EU Trade spokesman
The United States defines the conflict mineral zone as the
Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring countries including
Angola and South Sudan. They make up 17 percent of the global
production of tantalum, 4 percent of the global production of
tin, 3 percent of tungsten and 2 percent of gold.
Tantalum is used in electronics, while tungsten is used in
light bulb filaments.
Initially devised to include only the Republic Democratic of
Congo, as U.S. legislation does, the EU's proposal is now likely
to be extended to a range of conflict regions including Myanmar
to Afghanistan, according to officials.
The scheme will not cover diamonds and the proposal will
still need to be approved by EU lawmakers and governments.
The European Union is already part of the 50-member
Kimberley Process, a government, industry and civil society
initiative set up in 2002 to control the use of rough diamonds
that fund rebel movements and human rights abuses.
The European Union, which increasingly requires its trading
partners to make commitments to political and human rights
reforms, wants to introduce a similar scheme for other minerals
and make its disclosure rules binding for importers, although
there is still internal debate on the issue, EU officials said.
The latest draft of De Gucht's proposal envisages only a
voluntary participation in the conflict minerals scheme,
according to officials familiar with the document.
Under the draft plan, shipments of minerals could be
accompanied by a certificate to guarantee that they are
conflict-free. Criteria to define a conflict-free mineral will
be defined in detail and will have to be respected by the
companies using the conflict-free label for their products.
The list of minerals affected by the procedure is also
subject to negotiations and may become longer, or remain open
for future additions.
(Writing by Robin Emmott, editing by William Hardy)