4/17/14 Update: Crowe Horwath LLP Introduces Crowe Conflict Minerals Tracker

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act instructs the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue regulations requiring companies to disclose whether they obtained various rare minerals from war-torn regions in central Africa.  On Monday, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that the SEC’s “conflict mineral” disclosure rules were unconstitutional.  Specifically, in National Association of Manufacturers v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the court found that requiring companies to declare whether their products are “DRC conflict free,” the regulations unconstitutionally compelled commercial speech, thus violating the First Amendment.

Original: 2/10/14

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) new conflict minerals rule requires thousands of companies to perform due diligence to determine whether their products contain tin, tantalum, tungsten or gold, determine the country of origin for those minerals, and report their findings to customers and the SEC.

To assist with this complex process, Chicago-based Crowe Horwath LLP (FY13 net revenue of $599 million), an IPA Top 25 firm, has introduced the Crowe Conflict Minerals Tracker. The solution is designed to provide an efficient but thorough method for administering the required supplier query, data collection and reporting processes.

The intent of this new conflict mineral rule is to cut off funding to armed rebels responsible for human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjoining countries where these minerals are mined and sold. To help with this effort, SEC-registered companies now must conduct reasonable country of origin inquiries and other analyses and report on those findings.