March 2, 2011
Dear Ms. Murphy:
As president of TOBY POMEROY, a jewelry design and manufacturing firm in Oregon and as a member of the Board of Directors of ARM, the Alliance for Responsible Mining, my and I company have been recognized as global leaders in responsible, ethical and sustainable sourcing of precious metals by TIME, Vanity Fair, Oprah, and many other consumer and jewelry publications. I am writing to urge you to institute strong, unequivocal rules on conflict minerals under Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. I appreciate the opportunity to provide comments on this important issue.
As leaders in the jewelry industry we are no longer willing to ignore the atrocities associated with the mining of gold in areas of armed conflict. We are unwilling to tolerate the great cost to communities and the environment, particularly in areas of armed or militarized conflict like in the Democratic Republic of Congo and we are unwilling to use metals that may be associated with conflict, bloodshed and environmental or social abuses.
Your draft rules on Conflict Minerals have the potential to help make verification possible if the rules are stringent and comprehensive on several important points. I am aligned with the points below as enumerated by Earthworks.
1) The rules must fully include gold and metals mining companies.
2) The rules must apply to all possible companies, and not exempt small, foreign, or other companies.
3) Companies should "file" not just "furnish," conflict minerals disclosure, and that disclosure must include strong, defined due diligence and evidence and identification of all known countries of origin and actual specific origin of minerals if known for the DRC.
4) Finally, the rules must carefully define recycled metals as 100% post-consumer metals. Recycled metals that are labeled through a Conflict Minerals Report as "DRC conflict free" must be only post-consumer recycled metals. This precise definition of recycled is necessary to avoid potentially allowing newly-mined gold to be masked as manufacturing scrap or other poorly-defined category of metals.
Thank you for considering my comments. I urge you to ensure that the final rules are robust and comprehensive in order to help limit the sales of "blood gold" by jewelry and electronics retailers.