Siddharth Kara estimates, based on the data he gathered, there are more than 255,000 creuseurs mining cobalt in DRC, at least 35,000 of whom are children, some as young as six.
Siddharth Kara is author, activist and expert on modern day slavery and human trafficking. He documented the horrors at 31 artisanal mining sites in the south-eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including several previously undocumented sites in remote mountains near the Zambian border. Based on the data Kara gathered, he estimates there are more than 255,000 creuseurs (local artisanal miners of raw materials, not working for a company, selling their product to traders) mining cobalt in DRC, at least 35,000 of whom are children, some as young as six.
“The companies that source cobalt from DRC are surely aware of the appalling conditions under which the mineral is mined in some sites in the country. Any company sourcing cobalt from DRC must establish an independent, third-party system of verification that all mineral supply chains are cleansed of exploitation, cruelty, slavery, and child labour. They must invest whatever is needed to ensure the decent pay, safe and dignified working conditions, healthcare, education and general wellbeing of the people whose cheap labour they rely on.”
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