U.S. Dodd-Frank Law 'Stigmatizing' Africa's Gold?


"DRC's tragedies of war can't be ignored, but law not intended to hurt miners."

Mining Weekly, Martin Creamer

The U.S. Dodd-Frank Act, which allows consumers to know if human rights atrocities have tainted their gold, is not intended to hurt ethical African gold miners, says U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez.

Fernandez was responding, at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg, to AngloGold-Ashanti Sustainability Manager Jessica van Onselen, who said that electronics giants like Apple, Intel and Motorola intended giving African gold a wide berth to avoid the onerous implications of the Dodd-Frank law.

"We're very concerned about the stigmatization of African gold and what that piece of legislation does to such a vital industry on the African continent," Van Onselen said.

There is concern that Dodd-Frank may result in an increasing number of American gold users steering clear of African gold in order to avoid the red tape involved in its use.

In the same vein as the Kimberley Process that aims to eradicate "blood diamonds", Dodd-Frank seeks to cut off the source of finance to warlords from "conflict" gold, wolframite and cassiterite, which are used in electronics, jewelry, construction tools, weapons systems and aerospace technology.

Section 1502 forces the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to impose disclosure and, in some instances, auditing requirements on publicly traded companies that use "conflict minerals" to manufacture their products.

Signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010, the law gets its title from the surnames of U.S. politicians Chris Dodd and Barney Frank.

Fernandez said that the DRC's tragedies of war could not be ignored, but that it was not the intention of the law to hurt ethical mining companies, or to induce the withdrawal of miners from the DRC.

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