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Electric Vehicle Getting Fueled on Child Labor

Electric Vehicle Getting Fueled on Child Labor

Electric Vehicle Getting Fueled on Child Labor | Minor Miners.

Electric Vehicle, run on lithium ion batteries. These lithium ion batteries cannot be manufactured without using the mineral COBALT. Electric cars, smartphones, laptops all these products uses lithium ion batteries. Cobalt’s largest supplier in the World is Democratic Republic of Congo.

Electric Vehicles child labor cobalt
Source – HRW

More than half of the world’s supply of cobalt comes from the DRC, and 20 percent of that is mined by hand, according to Darton Commodities Ltd., a London-based research company that specializes in cobalt.

Electric cars may not be as ‘clean’ as you would think. Customers need to be aware that their green cars could be linked to the misery of child labourers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mark Dummett, Business and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International
Electric Vehicles child labor cobalt
Source – Amnesty

Production from so-called artisanal mines probably rose by at least half last year, according to the estimates of officials at three of the biggest international suppliers of the metal, who asked not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak on the matter. That’s a concern for electric vehicle makers from Volkswagen to Tesla Inc., who are seeking to secure long-term supplies of the battery ingredient but don’t want to be enmeshed in a scandal about unethical mining practices.

Tech giants including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. endured bad publicity after a 2016 Amnesty International report said children were being sent down some Congolese mines to dig for cobalt destined for their gadgets. Pit and tunnel collapses killed dozens of workers in 2015, the advocacy group said. 

Electric Vehicle Child Labor Cobalt
Source – Bloomberg

Cobalt has tripled in value in the last 18 months as the rise of electric vehicles intensifies competition for scarce resources. Two-thirds of the world’s supply comes from Congo, the second-poorest nation. – Bloomberg

The mineral cobalt is used in virtually all batteries in common devices, including cell phones, laptops and even electric vehicles. A report by Amnesty International first revealed that cobalt mined by children was ending up in products from several companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Tesla and Samsung. The work is hard enough for an adult man, but it is unthinkable for a child. Yet tens of thousands of Congolese kids are involved in every stage of mining for cobalt.

The latest research by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates 40,000 children are working in DRC mines.


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