Cobalt- Updates Regarding Reporting and Restriction

At the end of 2018, the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) released version 1.1 of the Cobalt Reporting Template (CRT) following the findings of a working group formed in 2017 focusing on the responsible sourcing of cobalt. Reports made prominent concerns over child labor and unsafe working conditions in the cobalt mining industry. The CRT was developed for the voluntary collection of cobalt data through industry supply chains. 

Cobalt is used extensively in lithium-ion batteries in mobile phones, tablets, laptops and automobiles. The CRT is intended to facilitate exchange of data within the cobalt supply chain, making it more transparent with regards to the origin of the cobalt as well as smelters and refiners used.

The CRT differs from the today widely applied Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT) in that the it addresses cobalt specifically whereas the CMRT addresses tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. The CMRT follows the IPC-1755 Conflict Minerals Data Exchange Standard for compliance with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

The IPC-1755 standard is currently being updated to include reporting for Conflict Affected and High Risk Areas (CAHRAs) for the new EU Conflict Minerals Regulation coming into force January 1, 2021. The CRT will be discussed by the IPC 2-18H Conflict Minerals Data Exchange Task Group, co-chaired by Nikki Johnson of TPP, at IPC APEX next week to determine if it should be incorporated in the Conflict Minerals Data Exchange Standard, if a new standard should be written or if IPC will take no action until there is legislation which requires reporting of cobalt.

Meanwhile, ECHA calls for comments on its proposed restrictions on the manufacture and placing on the market of five cobalt salts in industrial and professional applications in a public consultation accepting early comments in March 2019. The proposal includes restriction on cobalt sulfate, cobalt dinitrate, cobalt dichloride, cobalt carbonate and cobalt di(acetate) as substances on their own or in mixtures in concentrations equal to or above 0.01% by weight.

In this ever-evolving climate of reporting and restrictions, TPP can help you stay informed and proactively manage compliance.