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Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act Imposes New SEC Reporting Requirements on Publicly Traded Mine Operators


The financial reform law that Congress passed recently includes comprehensive new reporting requirements for publicly held companies that are also mine operators, or that have subsidiaries that are mine operators. The new law will take effect on or before August 20, 2010.

Section 1503 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires covered companies to report to the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") certain enforcement actions taken by the Mine Safety and Health Administration ("MSHA"), such as significant and substantial ("S&S"), unwarrantable failure and flagrant violations, closure orders for failure to abate or for an imminent danger, and pattern of violation notices and orders. Companies must also disclose, for the period of the report, the total number of fatalities, the total amount of assessed penalties and information about their cases pending before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. All of this information must be reported on the SEC's Form 10-Q and Form 10-K on a quarterly basis.  In addition, companies must report on SEC Form 8-K within four business days receipt of any imminent danger order, pattern of violations notice or notice of a proposed pattern.

Penalties for willfully failing to make the required disclosures are far greater than penalties for knowing or willful conduct under the Mine Act, and can be as high as $5,000,000 for individuals or $25,000,000 for companies.

The SEC has not issued regulations or other guidance to help companies understand what they must do to comply with these new requirements, and it is unclear whether or when the SEC will do so.

For more information, please contact the professional(s) listed below, or your regular Crowell & Moring contact.

Thomas (Tim) C. Means
Retired Partner – Washington, D.C.