Authored by David Kravitz.

On September 29, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it will host a public roundtable on October 18 to discuss the SEC’s rulemaking under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. As described in the December 17, 2010, edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest, on December 15, 2010 the SEC issued proposed rules implementing disclosure and reporting requirements regarding the use by issuers of conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The proposed rules would apply to issuers who file reports with the SEC under Sections 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 for whom conflict minerals are “necessary to the functionality or production of a product manufactured” or contracted to be manufactured by such issuers, and would require such issuers to determine, after a reasonable country of origin inquiry, whether their conflict minerals originated in the DRC countries. The original comment period for the proposed rulemaking expired on January 31, and an extension of such comment period expired on March 3. On July 29, the SEC announced it intends to implement the “conflict mineral” rules sometime between August and December.

The SEC believes that roundtable will provide a forum for stakeholders to exchange views and provide input on issues related to the SEC’s required rulemaking, including reporting approaches for the final rule, challenges in tracking conflict minerals through the supply chain and workable other due diligence requirements related to the rulemaking. While it is unusual for the SEC to hold a roundtable for rulemaking after the rule has been proposed and the comment period has expired, the SEC may be responding to the controversy surrounding the proposed rules as well as to heightened rule adoption standards resulting from the recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacating the SEC’s “proxy access” rule.

To read the SEC’s announcement, click here.