SEC Requires Mines To Report Safety Issues To Investors

Mining operations in the United States will now be required to arm their investment providers with new reports outlining data concerning violations, in accordance with new requirements set by the SEC yesterday.

The requirements, put into place by 2010’s Wall Street reform legislation, are to start taking effect one month after their publication. These new standards will compel organizations to offer individual disclosures concerning mines, with information on violations of the 1977 federal Mine Safety Act.

The organizations will also be required to report on litigation, and comprehensive reports on penalties levied in the report timeframe, regardless of the organization’s ongoing involvement in contestation.

The bill begins the first of a triad of mining disclosure requirements ratified by the SEC since the Dodd-Frank legislation was passed last year. Currently, the Securities Commission is delaying ratification of the remaining sets of requirements – those concerning “conflict” minerals and reports for organizations conducting resource extraction, after mining organizations and industry associations pushed back against these two items.

The proposal regarding conflict minerals – clearly the most provocative requirement proposed – would compel companies to report the use of certain minerals such as gold, tantalum, and tin derived from the Congo (an area currently embroiled in war).

Another requirement still in the final stages of approval would mandate that resource extraction agencies report on financial transactions with the US or international government entities.

In contrast to the conflict mineral requirement, which is the recipient of widespread public critique that required a roundtable discussion by the SEC, yesterday’s ruling on safety reporting for individual mines was the focus of a little more than a dozen letters with comment, according to the organization.

The majority of comments concerning this aspect of the new requirements showed support for these new rules. The new requirements are structured similarly to health and safety mandates currently in use for mine reporting today, administered by federal legislation. A great deal of the data the SEC is requiring organizations to report is already disclosed to federal administrators in charge of mine safety oversight, according to a statement released by the Securities Exchange Commission.