lithium mining child labor

China, which produces over 40 percent of the world’s refined cobalt, imports over 75 percent of the raw cobalt it uses from DR Congo. Demand for these raw materials is set to grow significantly. CNN's Nima Elbagir and her team uncovered horrifying evidence of children - some just 9 years old - working in Cobalt mines in Congo. If they’re not, they may face significant reputational damage from association with human rights violations and, in extreme cases, regulatory penalties from the slew of emerging legislative measures addressing supply chain issues. The children are mining for cobalt, a vital component of the lithium ion batteries found inside smartphones and other devices. More than 40 million people have been estimated to be captive in modern slavery, which includes forced labor and forced marriage, according to Walk Free and the International Labour Organization. Child labour, toxic leaks: the ... Metals such as lithium and cobalt provide examples of the awkward issues that lie ahead, ... Then there is the issue of lithium mining. It marked the first time the tech industry jointly has faced legal action over the source of its cobalt. Given the high-profile use of lithium-ion batteries in emerging technologies, scrutiny of the production processes behind them will undoubtedly rise, especially for brands targeted at environmentally and socially conscious consumers. Images in the court documents, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., showed children with disfigured or missing limbs. In response to a request for comment, Dell said in an email that it has “never knowingly sourced operations” using child labor and has launched an investigation into the allegations. Ultimately, environmental issues affecting lithium production in South America pose less of a risk to business than the extreme environment of DR Congo, and they are unlikely to spur the kind of regulatory response that human rights violations in the supply chain have prompted. The Cobalt Action Partnership aims to eliminate child and forced labor from the cobalt value chain and contribute to the sustainable development of communities. One of the key challenges for companies is traceability. Another child, who began mining at 14, was hit by a truck as he left a mine area on a motorbike loaded with three bags of cobalt, weighing 33 stone. “I’ve never encountered or documented a more severe asymmetry in the allocation of income between the top of the supply chain and the bottom,” said Siddharth Kara, a researcher on modern slavery who is an expert witness in the case. Tesla plans to use cobalt from Anglo-Swiss mining giant Glencore to build lithium-ion batteries at its ... tech firms of knowing that cobalt used in their products could be linked to child labor. Go deep on GTM's hottest topics. According to Verisk Maplecroft’s water stress index, the lithium-rich Puna highland desert of Salta and Jujuy is classified as "extreme risk." Verisk Maplecroft’s cobalt risk assessment -- part of its commodity risk service -- reveals that human rights abuses are widespread in the sector and can occur within both industrial and artisanal mines. The resulting surge in investor interest in Argentina could see investment in the sector top $20 billion between now and 2025. Children mining cobalt in slave-like conditions as global demand for battery material surges. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays. They breathe air filled with dust and sometimes toxic gases. The legal complaint on behalf of 14 families from Congo was filed on Sunday by International Rights Advocates, a U.S.-based human rights non-profit, against Tesla Inc, Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc, Microsoft Corp and Dell Technologies Inc.. While this sounds like a win for everyone, there’s a darker side that could alter the perceptions of ethically minded consumers and create significant risks for brands. In the tunnels and mineshafts they risk death from explosions, rock falls, and tunnel collapse. However, companies found to be sourcing from mines perceived to encroach on local populations’ access to water, or indeed the rights of indigenous peoples, may face a reputational cost. A spokesperson for Glencore said: “Glencore notes the allegations contained in a U.S. lawsuit filed on 15th December 2019. Visit news.trust.org. Elon Musk's worst nightmare: child labor and cobalt supply - … In 2014 approximately 40,000 children worked in mines across southern DRC, many of them mining cobalt, according to UNICEF. Tesla and Apple among tech giants accused of aiding child labour … Tech giants sued over child labour, deaths and injuries in cobalt … Yet still today, tens of thousands are found in the small-scale gold mines of Africa, Asia and South America. Tesla, Apple, Google, Microsoft did not immediately respond for comment. It is this lack of visibility down the supply chain that leaves companies exposed to the breadth of social and environmental issues linked to cobalt production. The meteoric rise of lithium-ion batteries in the transport and IT sectors has been spurred by demand for technologies that reduce carbon emissions and decrease energy use. Child Miners Exploited for Electric Car Batteries-Misleading!Summary of eRumor: Reports that child miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, some as young as four years old, are forced to mine cobalt needed to make electric car batteries have gone viral. More… In February 2017, an investigation by Sky News revealed that children as young as 4 years old were working in horrid conditions in cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Shockingly, 40,000 children are estimated to be employed in artisanal mines in southern DR Congo, including in cobalt extraction. Six of the 14 children in the case were killed in tunnel collapses, and the others suffered life-altering injuries, including paralysis, it said. Cobalt is essential in making rechargeable lithium batteries ... work in cobalt mining owned by the British mining company Glencore. Check out all of our energy storage resources, Watt It Takes: BlocPower CEO Donnel Baird Wants to Electrify Buildings for Everyone. Stefan Sabo-Walsh is director of commodities research at Verisk Maplecroft. The ... "The work, by its very nature, is the worst possible form of child labour," Ms Armistead said. The refined metal is sold on to battery manufacturers, which then sell their products to multinational brands. Above ground, children dig, crush, mill, and haul ore – often in the hot sun. The Grid Edge comprises technologies, solutions and business models advancing the transition toward a decentralized, distributed and transactive electric grid. Mica is found in every car, plane and cell phone. However, as investment grows, so does the number of legal challenges from indigenous and rural communities fighting against the industry’s demand for water and land. Once mined, the mineral traverses a complex supply chain that can include the smelting together of cobalt extracted from both artisanal and industrial mines, which is then transported overseas. Cobalt is essential in making rechargeable lithium batteries used in millions of products sold by the tech industry. The Hidden Risks of Batteries: Child Labor, Modern Slavery, and Weakened Land and Water Rights With demand for cobalt and lithium surging, companies need to be aware of where they’re sourcing from. The wind industry is in a period of intensifying competition and shifting demand that requires a multi-faceted view of the global market. Electric vehicles are key to shifting the motor industry away from fossil fuels, but they are currently not as ethical as some retailers would like us to believe. Over 50 percent of the world’s cobalt is currently produced in DR Congo, with the copper belt in the southern Katanga region accounting for almost half of the world’s reserves at 3.4 million metric tons. Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. America's Drastic Shift: What Are the Paths for Energy and Climate? Children mining cobalt in Democratic Republic of Congo, CBS … Child miners aged four at Congo cobalt mine | Daily Mail Online With demand for cobalt and lithium surging, companies need to be aware of where they’re sourcing from. Amnesty International has documented serious human rights violations linked to the extraction of the minerals used in lithium-ion batteries, particularly in the DRC. Reporting by Matthew Lavietes; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Tom Finn. Mining and Electric Vehicles: Lithium, Nickel, Cobalt | naked … Apple among companies sued over 'brutal' child labor | AppleInsider A 2016 investigation foun… Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights and climate change. The companies were part of a system of forced labor that the families claimed led to the death and serious injury of their children, it said. Titled “This Is What We Die For,” the report traces the cobalt from Listeners Choose the Top Energy Storylines of 2020, Why 'Too Much' Wind and Solar Is a Feature, Not a Bug, The Surprising Ways America Can Hit Net-Zero Emissions by 2050, California Sets $200M Budget for ‘Complex, Multi-Property Microgrid’ Projects, New York City’s Biggest Power Producer Aims to Import Renewable Energy From Upstate, A Vibrant Cleantech Startup Ecosystem Takes Root in India, Nuclear Enters 2021 With Buoyant Global Outlook for Small Modular Reactors, Kauai to Hit 80% Renewable Power With Solar-Charged Hydro Storage, MIT Study: Transmission Is Key to a Low-Cost, Decarbonized US Grid, Case Study: WeBoost Helps Longroad Energy Unlock $430,000 in Annual Revenue from Acquired Wind Plant. “Glencore’s production of cobalt in the DRC is a by-product of our industrial copper production. Some stand for hours in water, digging sand or silt from riverbeds. Apple, Google, Tesla, Microsoft and Dell are accused of exploiting child labor in the Democratic Republic of Congo by African families whose kids have been 'maimed or killed' mining … Therefore, IT and auto companies need to be aware of the risks of sourcing from key cobalt and lithium-producing countries, such as Argentina and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Children told Amnesty International they worked for up to 12 hours a day in the mines, carrying heavy loads to earn between one and two dollars a day. Amnesty and Afrewatch are using the findings of the report to call on multinational companies to conduct investigations of their supply chains for lithium … The appetite for electric cars is driving a boom in small-scale cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some mines have been found to be dangerous and employ A 2007 study funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development found 4,000 children worked at mining sites in Kolwezi alone. Risks within the production of the new wave of batteries are not, however, confined to labor rights or illegality. Although much of this is produced at large-scale industrial mines, the Congolese government reports that around 20 percent of cobalt exports from the country originate in artisanal mines, a majority of which are unregulated and operate illegally. If you look at the production of cobalt and lithium used in these batteries, a stark picture emerges of an industry exposed to issues such as child labor, modern slavery, and the undermining of land and water rights. But a year-long NBC News investigation reveals the shocking human cost of mining the mineral. © 2021 Greentech Media or its affiliated companies. Conflict between mine operators and local populations over water rights have led to 33 indigenous communities from Salta and Jujuy filing legal challenges against lithium operations in Laguna Guayatayoc and Salinas Grandes. Free intelligence and insights from industry experts and leading companies on the global energy transformation. More than half of the world’s cobalt is produced in Congo. A potential ruling in favor of the communities by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is unlikely to halt operations, but local demonstrations against the projects might create continuity issues if they escalate to the extent of protests that we see in Peru. The legal complaint argued that the companies all have the ability to overhaul their cobalt supply chains to ensure safer conditions. Cobalt Lawsuit Against Tech Giants Over Child Labour A ‘Global … A better understanding of the social and environmental issues associated with their production in key countries might just help businesses avoid legal or reputational challenges further down the line. “If the people were still living in Kasulo then there is no way to get rid of the No laws or widely acknowledged partnerships or initiatives exist to support increased traceability for cobalt mined in DR Congo -- unlike those in place for 3TG (tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold) conflict minerals. He ended up losing his left leg. Following the scrapping of mining export taxes by President Mauricio Macri, Argentina has emerged as the pre-eminent producer in South America’s "lithium triangle," which also encompasses Bolivia and Chile. Global demand for the metal is expected to increase at 7% to 13% annually over the next decade, according to a 2018 study by the European Commission. Glencore has previously been accused of using child labor. “These companies - the richest companies in the world, these fancy gadget-making companies - have allowed children to be maimed and killed to get their cheap cobalt,” Terrence Collingsworth, an attorney representing the families, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The lawsuit said the children, some as young as 6 years old, were forced by their families’ extreme poverty to leave school and work in cobalt mining owned by the British mining company Glencore. Cobalt has become a controversial topic in the debate over copper nickel mining in Minnesota’s Duluth Complex. Batteries are helping to optimize the power grid and opening up new applications and services for utilities and service providers. All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. Children work both above and under ground. Years of unregulated industry practices have led to detrimental human rights and environmental impacts, which governments and industry are not doing enough to tackle. Gold mining is extremely dangerous work for children. Some children were paid as little as $1.50 per day, working 6 days a week, it said. This metal, which is used in the lithium ion batteries in laptops, tablets, and electric cars, has become a lighting rod because most of the cobalt produced in the world comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where some of the cobalt is mined using child labor. Verisk Maplecroft’s sister company, Wood Mackenzie, suggests lithium demand will double to around 380 LCE kt (lithium carbonate equivalent 1,000 metric tons) before 2024, mainly due to an expansion in the production of electric vehicles. Glencore’s operations in the DRC do not purchase or process any artisanally mined ore. “Glencore does not tolerate any form of child, forced, or compulsory labor.”. Policy & regulation are aligning with renewables cost declines to make projects more profitable and portfolios more sustainable. We curate our best reporting on the most salient trends in the industry. According to the research, the country is rated "extreme risk" for child labor, modern slavery, trafficking and occupational health and safety. Ironically, the environmentally friendly image of electric cars and green technology belies the environmental impacts associated with lithium mining in South America. They're working in mines instead. Greentech Media is owned by Wood Mackenzie, a Verisk company. Children mining cobalt for batteries in Congo... 05:56 An estimated two-thirds of children in the region of the DRC that CBS News visited are not in school. NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Five of the world’s largest tech companies have been accused of being complicit in the death of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) forced to mine cobalt, a metal used to make telephones and computers, in a landmark lawsuit. “It’s that disconnect that makes this perhaps the worst injustice of slavery and child exploitation that I’ve seen in my two decades research,” Kara said. Cobalt: Companies struggle to keep batteries free from child labor The Hidden Risks of Batteries: Child Labor, Modern Slavery, and Weakened Land and Water Rights. All rights reserved. Glencore has previously been accused of using child labor. 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