New U.S. legislation would ban imported products containing critical green transition minerals mined by child labor in Congo
ABUJA, Nigeria — A measure has been introduced in the U.S. House to ban imported products containing minerals critical to electric vehicle batteries but mined through child labor and other abusive conditions in Congo, where China has enormous mining stakes.
The bill targets China, which sponsor Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey says uses forced labor and exploits children to mine cobalt in the impoverished but resource-rich central African country.
Congo is the world’s largest producer of cobalt, a mineral used to make lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, a key pillar of President Joe Biden’s climate plans. China controls the majority of the cobalt mines in Congo, strengthening Beijing’s position in the global supply chain for electric vehicles and other products.
“On the backs of trafficked workers and child laborers, the Chinese Communist Party is exploiting the vast cobalt resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo to fuel its economy and global agenda,” Smith’s office said in a statement following the bill’s introduction Friday.
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