Democratic Republic of Congo: Child Labour in Cobalt Mines

Cobalt is a key part of lithium-ion batteries used in products such as smartphones and laptops. Half of the cobalt on the market is extracted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), amid hazardous working conditions, without the most basic protective equipment, and often involving child labour.

UNICEF estimated in 2014 that approximately 40,000 boys and girls were working in mines in southern DRC, many of them involved in cobalt mining. Children interviewed by Amnesty International described working up to 12 hours a day, doing physically demanding work, and earning the equivalent of 1-2 dollars a day.

In January Amnesty International published ‘This is What We Die For’, a report on cobalt mining in the DRC. In response, most companies that purchase cobalt referred to general codes of conduct and zero tolerance policies on child labour in their supply chains. Many companies have denied sourcing cobalt from the DRC, although they are listed as customers in the documents of companies buying cobalt ore from the biggest mineral processor of the DRC.

Amnesty is calling on multinational companies who use lithium-ion batteries in their products to conduct human rights due diligence, to investigate whether the cobalt they buy is extracted under hazardous conditions or with child labour, and to be more transparent about their suppliers.

Take Action

Please write to multinational companies who are using cobalt in their products, calling on them to conduct due diligence and be more transparent about their suppliers. Please send letters to:

Apple
Supplier Responsibility Team Apple
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014
United States of America
Emailsupplierresponsibility@apple.com
Template LetterCHRN June 2016 – Apple Template Letter

Samsung
Sustainability Management Office
Samsung SDI Co. Ltd
150-20 Gongse-ro,
Giheung-gu Yongin-si,
Gyeonggi-do
Korea
Emailsustainability@samsung.com
Template Letter: CHRN June 2016 – Samsung Template Letter

Huawei
Trade and Customs Compliance Office
Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
Bantian, Longgang District,
Shenzhen 518129,
China
Emailsustainability@huawei.com
Template Letter: CHRN June 2016 – Huawei Template Letter

You can read more on this campaign and how to also take action via twitter here:
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/country-specialists/are-you-sure-your-laptop-child-labour-free

Please let Amnesty know about any actions taken on this case by contacting: childrensnetwork@amnesty.org.uk.