COMPANIES mining copper and cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been urged to do more to fight corruption and child labour, said Bloomberg News citing a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD).
Companies should be “proactive about addressing risks, for example by improving working conditions in artisanal mining or taking action to address corruption in their supply chains,” Ben Katz, co-author of the OECD report, said in a statement.
Citing the US Geological Survey, the newswire said the DRC was the world’s largest cobalt producer and the fifth largest producer of copper. As demand for the two minerals has soared with the growth of the electronic and electric-vehicle industries, so have worries about the conditions under which they are mined, it said.
Cobalt is a key component in lithium ion rechargeable batteries, and DRC has almost half the world’s known reserves, it said.
Several of the DRC’s biggest miners, including Glencore and Eurasian Resources Group are under investigation in the US and UK for allegations of corruption in their DRC operations, said Bloomberg News.