Conflict Minerals bill expected to be tabled in Canadian Parliament

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RENO (Mineweb) –

Buoyed by the launch of a petition drive and the backing of human rights NGOs, MP Paul Dewar is expected to make another run at a Canadian Conflict Minerals bill.

New Democratic Party MP Paul Dewar, who represents Ottawa Centre, is expected to introduce conflict minerals legislation in Canada’s Parliament Tuesday, The Globe and Mail has reported.

Dewar’s previous conflict minerals bill died shortly ahead of the 2011 federal election. The 2010 bill which would have created the Conflict Minerals Act was aimed at corporate practices relating to the purchase of minerals from the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

Dewar announced earlier this month that he would revive his Conflict Minerals bill.

The 2010 measure would have created “a due diligence mechanism for Canadian companies to ensure that they are not purchasing minerals that finance conflicts,” Dewar told his colleagues at the September 30, 2010, introduction of C-571. “The bill would also mandate the extractive sector’s Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor to report to the minister and Parliament as to which companies are not practising due diligence in purchasing these materials.”

Joanna Lebert, director of the Great Lakes Program at Ottawa’s Partnership Africa Canada, who advised Dewar on his current bill, told The Globe and Mail, “this is a much improved approach to Dodd Frank because it lays out for Canadian stakeholders and others on how to resource responsibly from the region with initiatives that are actually being tested.”

Dewar’s new bill would utilize the OCED Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas.

Earlier this month, in partnership with the U.S.-based Enough Project, Stand Canada launched the Conflict Free Canada Initiative to petition the Government of Canada to cut Canada’s ties to Conflict Minerals. Although 5,000 signatures are needed, the student group’s petition had only gathered 211 signatures as of March 25th.

Last August, the SEC implemented Rule 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, requiring companies to disclose to shareholders and the agency the origin of minerals in their products in an attempt to prevent conflict minerals from entering their supply chains.

Conflict minerals include tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, which are mined and smuggled out of the Democratic Republic of Congo, reportedly perpetuating a cycle of corruption, devastation and even killing in the DRC.

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