Tag Archives: smelter

Does Your Conflict Mineral Smelter/Refiner List Look Like This?

In a previous post, we discussed smelter/refiners lists in conflict minerals reports (CMRs).  In this post, we broaden the discussion.

Last year, definitive information on smelter/refiner names and locations was severely lacking. Early efforts at using the CMRT for collecting smelter/refiner names resulted in many non-smelters/refiners being listed by suppliers, so EICC/CFSI initiated their “verified smelter/refiner” listings. “Verified” is not the same as audited; “verified” means that the CFSI has simply confirmed that the location is a legitimate smelter/refiner operation. Further, the CFSI list represented only those facilities identified within the electronics supply chain, and therefore did not represent all smelters/refiners globally. This point was communicated in the heading of the Standard Smelter Names tab of the CMRT.  The CMRT version 3.02 (November 7, 2014), lists 279 verified smelters/refiners.

For the CY2013 filing, issuers arguably could make a reasonable interpretation that any processing facility name not verified by the CFSI was not definitively a smelter/refiner and therefore did not need to be reported. As a result, many issuers listing smelters/refiners in their CMR included only those facilities that were either CFSI audited or verified* (and within the electronics supply chain only).

In September 2014, the Department of Commerce published their report – DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS UNDER SECTION 1502(d)(3)(C) OF THE DODD-FRANK ACT, WORLD-WIDE CONFLICT MINERAL PROCESSING FACILITIES. In this report, Commerce stated “…to our knowledge, the attached list is the most comprehensive list to date of all known processing facilities in the world.” Approximately 450 processing facilities are listed – about 170 more than are CFSI verified or audited.

For CY2014, we don’t believe issuers can take the same approach to omitting smelters/refiners as last year. Since the Commerce list is considered by US Government to be the most comprehensive list to date of all known processing facilities in the world, it may no longer be reasonable to omit facility names using the argument that they can’t be confirmed as a smelter/refiner.

In other words, if your CY2014 smelter/refiner list is limited to ONLY processing facilities that are CFSI audited or verified, your disclosure may be incomplete (unless CFSI audited/verified facilities actually do make up 100% of the names provided by your suppliers).

Recently, we have seen some draft smelter/refiner lists for CY2014 filings that were incomplete because they omitted any facility name that was not on a CFSI list. The logic behind these was based on CY2013 data availability and is no longer valid in our opinion.

If your list of smelters/refiners (either in your CMRT or Conflict Minerals Report) contains only facilities with a CID number, we suggest you review your supplier data and confirm this is indeed accurate. Otherwise, we recommend that you list all supplier-provided facility names that are included in the Commerce list, regardless of their status with CFSI.

And don’t forget to conduct research into the countries of origin used by those facilities.


* Of the 1300 filers for CY2013, only 18% included a smelter/refiner list in the CMR.

Are Unverified Processing Facilities in Your Smelter/Refiner List?

We are hearing on an increasingly frequent basis about suppliers providing names of facilities that are reportedly 3TG smelters or refiners, but are not included in the EISS-GeSI verified smelter listing that is included in the Conflict Minerals Common Reporting Template.

What does this mean, and what should you do?

We had a conversation last week with someone intimately familiar with the CFSI and the verified smelter list who offered some thoughts.

First off, the list of verified smelters and refiners (those listed in the “Standard Smelter Names” tab of the Template) is not exhaustive.  This is indicated in the header on that page, which states that the list “does not represent … all smelters worldwide.”  The list is based on those that have been identified by EICC, GeSI and CFSI members primarily within the electronics supply chain, although the gold list relies heavily on the jewelry and gold industries.

Those in industrial and commercial sectors that have identified additional smelters not included in the CFSI Standard Smelter List are faced with the question of what to do with these.  We have seen companies going in different directions, such as:

  • Taking a position that smelters/refiners not on the verified list are not valid for the 2013 filing but they will be evaluated further for the 2014 filing.
  • Reporting them in the smelter/refiner list of the 2013 disclosure with conflict status of “Unknown”.
  • Conducting stand-alone verification efforts, then reporting or excluding them in the 2013 filing based on the results.

Regardless of the decision, companies who find unlisted smelters or refiners should report these to CFSI for further investigation and possible inclusion in the upcoming CMRT 3.0 and associated on-line smelter/refiner list.



Elm’s Auditing Expertise Extends to “Conflict Mineral” Supply Chain Traceability

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gave 2010 an interesting send-off by publishing its proposed regulations on Conflict Minerals Reporting and supply chain traceability on December 15, 2010.  The requirements will impact many industries and companies (U.S. and foreign) in various ways.  The Law itself, the proposed regulations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Conflict Minerals Due Diligence framework create expectations and ambiguities concerning supply chain traceability/auditing programs.

Between August and December, The Elm Consulting Group International, LLC completed one of the first third-party audit/traceability engagements in response to The Conflict Minerals Law and OECD program.  The audits resulted in the first “Conflict-Free Smelter” designation in the United States under the audit program for tantalum.

As a result of that success, we are launching a broadened Conflict Minerals Traceability Auditing service to include tin, tungsten and gold.

To assist clients and others, Elm has developed a short summary review of conflict minerals audit programs – based on our industry-leading first-hand experience conducting these audits, and leveraging our extensive international senior-level health, safety and environmental (HSE) auditing expertise.

If you are interested in receiving our summary document, please contact us.


Founded in 2001, The Elm Consulting Group International, LLC is a specialty health, safety, environmental and sustainability management services firm with 5 offices in the United States, as well as offices in Mexico, Argentina, New Zealand, Indonesia, an exclusive joint venture in China and a network of over 100 hand-selected affiliates in 22 other countries.  To maintain our independence as auditors, our services are focused on audit program development and execution, and we maintain various third-party HSE auditor certifications in the US and abroad.