Tag Archives: mining

Media Reports, Public Pressure Mounting on Cobalt as a Conflict Mineral

The Washington Post published results of their investigation into cobalt sourcing, specifically for industrial battery manufacturing.  Regardless of whether you agree with the findings or not, it is valuable reading as it continues to demonstrate the expansion of supply chain responsibility.

We increasingly refer to this as You Are What Your Suppliers Do, so you need to have full confidence in your supplier due diligence and audits.  And if you haven’t done so already, read what Harvard Business School published on the pragmatic aspects of getting meaningful and useful CSR/supplier audits.

It is worth pointing out, however, that the issues related to cobalt mining that WaPo reports – however horrific – are different from the criteria under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act to be considered a “conflict mineral.”  The law specifically limits the expansion of the term to “any other mineral or its derivatives determined by the Secretary of State to be financing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo or an adjoining country.”  Child labor not directly associated with financing such conflict and environmental degradation from uncontrolled mining are outside the definition.

While internal conflict minerals due diligence processes can generally be easily adapted to address cobalt (beyond funding conflict), doing so is voluntary or in response to customer requirements only.

Management of EHS Risk Triggers Shareholder Lawsuit

The Charleston (WVa) Gazette has reported that a trust fund owning a small number of Massey Energy company shares has filed a lawsuit against the company.

The suit was filed by the Manville Personal Injury Trust, which owns just 1,000 shares of the company.  The lawsuit alleges that Massey has violated a 2008 settlement with Manville.  That settlement was reached after Manville sued Massey, its CEO and Board of Directors in 2007 alleging mismanagement

in the wake of repeated water pollution violations, large fines relating to the deaths of two miners in the 2006 Aracoma Mine fire, and a nearly $2 million verdict against Massey for firing a worker who complained about safety problems.

The current lawsuit accuses that the company’s Board members “consciously breached fiduciary duties owed to the company and its shareholders.”

West Virginia Coal Mine Tragedy Triggers Increased Regulatory Activity

Today Reuter’s reported that President Obama is ordering the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to step up safety inspections and enforcement of mines.

This action comes as the Administration’s response to the Massey coal mine explosion in West Virginia last week that killed 29 miners.