Africa Human Angle

Child labour in Cobalt mines in the DRC

During the plandemic, after schools and businesses closed, remote working and learning via video-conferencing were increasingly relied on, even becoming the main means of communication. As a result there was a 26% hike in sales of electronic devices such as smartphones, computers and tablets.

Lithium-ion batteries are needed to make these electronic devices work, and the batteries use rare mineral cobalt. This is a mineral, with over 60% of world production originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo where 20% of the mines are small-scale.

Currently, it is still estimated that in the DRC some 40,000 children have to work in these mines to collect this mineral instead of going to school, playing or simply experiencing childhood.

It is estimated that 20% of the mines in the DRC are small-scale and use mostly child workers. These children, aged between 3 and 17, have to work in appalling and dangerous conditions, usually barefoot.

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