Industry players react to responsible copper policy

In October 2018, the London Metal Exchange (LME) published a position paper on the responsible sourcing of metals and minerals listed therein, which would enter into force at the beginning of 2020. The requirements are in line with the principles of the OECD; specifically with the so-called “Due diligence guide for supply chains responsible for minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas”.

This new policy would be oriented initially to penalize the transaction of cobalt and tin that come from areas where the use of child labor cannot be guaranteed, for example.

At the time of presenting this new proposal, LME invited the producers of metals and minerals such as copper, cobalt, tin, nickel, zinc, aluminum, aluminum and lead alloys, together with NGOs and stakeholders linked to the global mining industry, to provide their feedback to the proposal.

Cesco was able to access the feedback delivered recently by important stakeholders in the copper industry. These organizations, in general, receive the initiative as good news, mainly for the purpose it pursues: that companies with copper cathode brands listed on the stock exchange adhere to principles of responsible supply. Along with requesting greater precision and information regarding the details of the proposal, the main feedback revolves around the following aspects:

  • Term: in general, they consider that the period of almost one year for the entry into force of this policy is short, mainly if this initiative is to prosper without causing disruptions in the market. In the case of copper, the value chain is complex and, in many cases, involves the mixing of different types of minerals, which is why they will require joint work to design and implement these new standards.
  • Standards: it suggests that LME works in conjunction with the International Copper Association (ICA) for the development and implementation of reporting standards, to ensure that they protect confidential information along with ensuring transparency and building trust with the stakeholder community.
  • The paper mentions ISO and OHSAS standards as the certifications required in the process, although there is an openness to consider other types of certification in management systems in socio-environmental, occupational health and safety areas. These certifications can be from the companies themselves, or in the case of ICA that is developing the ‘Copper Mark’, which LME considers the Responsible Minerals Initiative Risk Readiness Assessment standard that includes occupational health and safety management as well as environmental management among their criteria.
  • Finally, they ask LME to consider the commercial implications of the proposal’s implementation and to have a plan that covers the way to face them.