Under the rule, public companies would have to disclose annually their tracing of the minerals back to the sources if they use in their products the designated minerals from the DRC and neighboring countries, where armed groups have profited much from mining minerals used in electronics, jewelry and other goods.
The affected minerals are gold, tin, tungsten and tantalum. As part of the 2010 financial overhaul law, the new rule applies to all U.S.-listed public companies, including those from foreign nations. And the companies would have to submit their first reports in May 2014.
The SEC said that tougher reporting requirements on mineral use might help curb violence in the DRC, which experienced civil wars and conflicts in the 1990s. Currently, militias still operate in the mineral-rich eastern part of the country.