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London Metal Exchange pushes planned trade ban on tainted metal to 2023

The London Metal Exchange extended the deadline on a proposed trade ban on metals brands tainted by human rights abuses to give producers more time to comply with the LME's responsible sourcing requirements.

The LME now requires metal producers to be fully engaged in the process by 2022 and fully compliant by 2023, according to an Oct. 25 news release. It had aimed to impose the ban in 2022.

In October 2018, the exchange revealed plans to subject metals such as cobalt and tin to more stringent reviews, which some groups opposed. The exchange then launched consultations on the new standards and said it aimed to have all metal brands undertake an assessment by the end of 2020, with any flagged during the process to be audited by the end of 2022.

The LME noted in its latest release that the previous deadline could disadvantage smaller players that do not have the same legal and compliance capabilities as the larger producers.

The LME said the guidelines, which apply to all brands, rest on four core principles of combining transparency and standards, nondiscrimination between large-scale mining and artisanal or small-scale mining, adherence to well-established work in the sector, and a pragmatic and clear process.

The guidelines are based on due diligence guidance from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which does not cover environmental concerns. The LME said that as an interim measure, it will require all brands to work toward international environmental and occupational health and safety management standards.