The European Union agreed a deal on Tuesday to stem the flow of gold and other metals used to fund armed conflicts or produced in conditions that breach human rights.
EU importers of tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold and their ores will from 2021 have to carry out checks on their suppliers in legislation that will also apply to smelters and refiners.
Human rights campaigners said the agreement was a half-hearted first step, with imports of finished products that may contain the minerals not included and an end result that exempted a large number of companies. Industrial users of the commodities said the deal reached in outline in June strikes the right balance.
Members of the European Parliament and European Commission officials who brokered the deal said it would improve the lives of those living in conflict zones and break a vicious cycle between the trade in minerals and the financing of conflicts.
“This is a very strong regulation. It’s ground breaking,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told a news conference, adding she hoped other countries would follow the EU example.
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