IN THE NEWS

Amnesty International. This film documents the hazardous conditions in which artisanal miners, including thousands of children, mine cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It goes on to trace how this cobalt is used to power mobile phones, laptop computers, and other portable electronic devices. Using basic hand tools, miners dig out rocks from tunnels deep underground, and accidents are common. Despite the potentially fatal health effects of prolonged exposure to cobalt, adult and child miners work without even the most basic protective equipment.

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"Major electronics brands, including Apple, Samsung and Sony, are failing to do basic checks to ensure that cobalt mined by child labourers has not been used in their products, said Amnesty International and Afrewatch in a report published today."

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"This report documents the hazardous conditions in which artisanal miners, including thousands of children, mine cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It goes on to trace how this cobalt is used to power mobile phones, laptop computers, and other portable electronic devices. Using basic hand tools, miners dig out rocks from tunnels deep underground, and accidents are common. Despite the potentially fatal health effects of prolonged exposure to cobalt, adult and child miners work without even the most basic protective equipment."

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"Leading electric car makers must come clean to their consumers about the steps they are taking to keep child labour out of their supply chains, and be open about any abuses that they do find, Amnesty International said today, ahead of the Paris Motor Show where new models of electric cars will be displayed. Leading electric car makers General Motors (GM), Renault-Nissan and Tesla have failed to disclose the steps they are taking to ensure that cobalt mined by child labourers as young as seven in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is not used in their batteries."

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"Global demand for the brittle, bluish-white metal has skyrocketed in recent months, exceeding 100,000 metric tons for the first time last year, according to mining consultant CRU Group. Over the next 10 years, it’s projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6%. And because around two-thirds of the world’s supply is mined in the highly unstable Congo, a supply shortage is likely brewing."

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"BMW Group, General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and other car companies could hit a roadblock in their efforts to put more electric vehicles on the market: a cobalt shortage. The silvery metal, a byproduct of copper mining, is in high demand as a component of lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. But there might not be enough cobalt to go around, forcing car companies to look for alternatives, potentially delaying the transition to electric motoring."

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"President Trump announced Friday evening that U.S. troops had been sent to Gabon to protect U.S. assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is awaiting the first results of its presidential election.  Mr. Trump wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Friday that around 80 personnel had been deployed to the capital of Gabon, which borders Congo, "to be in position to support the security of United States citizens, personnel, and diplomatic facilities" in Congo's capital."

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