March 12, 2020: A new law will come into full force across the EU on January 1, 2021 that will affect parts of the lead battery industry. Called the Conflict Minerals Regulation, this aims to help stem the trade in four elements — tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold — which sometimes finance armed conflict or are mined using forced labour.
Tin is added at up to 1.6% in positive lead-calcium battery grids to improve casting and cycling performance in high end AGM/VRLA products, especially in automotive batteries. Up to 0.4% tin is typically added to the negative grid.
Further details of the regulation, released by the European Commission in early March said that the aim was “to ensure that EU importers of these metals meet international responsible sourcing standards, set by the OECD, that global and EU smelters and refiners of source the metals responsibly.
“It should help break the link between conflict and the illegal exploitation of minerals and also put an end to the exploitation and abuse of local communities, including mine workers, and support local development.”
“This approach to responsible stewardship is very much in line with our thinking”, said an ILA spokesperson.
“We believe that the whole of our industry should be at the forefront of any discussions over the ethical direction of responsible sourcing. We are working with the LME to develop responsible sourcing guidelines for lead.”