On 14th February, in its Africa Focus for Spring 2018, White & Case reported on the status of mining in 2018. It remarks, for example, on the 100% rise in the price of cobalt – used in lithium-ion batteries that power vehicles, with about 60% of global output coming from the DRC. Copper, too, it says, is linked to electric vehicles and renewable energy—not to mention global growth – good news for African producers of copper, which includes DRC, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa. Africa accounts for more than 20% of global gold output. Unsurprisingly, it says that mining in Africa is not without its challenges, though, citing the DRC as a case in point, with a humanitarian crisis brought about by civil unrest and political instability means there is significant country risk. A survey revealed that the biggest challenge in Africa highlighted country/political risk, though the article also referred to bribery and corruption risks, increased taxation demands etc.
UK MONEY LAUNDERING LAW
A briefing prepared by the House of Commons Library and originally published in April 2017 sets out the main features of the UK’s money laundering legislation which is comprised largely of legislation derived from the EU 3rd and 4th Money Laundering Directives. It concentrates especially on the impact of the legislation on the financial services industry and upon professional services, such as accountants and solicitors, who are most exposed to the law. Another Standard Note – SN/BT/3366 – deals with the practical problems of attempting to prove identity when trying to open a bank account.
On 14th February, Bird & Bird produced a useful summary of the current position on EU sanctions. The introduction says that when conducting international business in a globalised economy, it is essential to comply with all applicable national and international law. In order to facilitate compliance with EU sanctions regimes, this summary provides a current state of play of certain sanctions that are imposed by the EU.