Federal watchdog finds Canadian firm ‘contributed to use of forced labour’ in China – by Steven Chase (Globe and Mail – March 27, 2024)


A watchdog created by the federal government to probe corporate wrongdoing abroad says Vancouver-based Dynasty Gold Corp DYG-X has contributed to the use of forced labour at a mine in Xinjiang, China, and is asking Ottawa to cut off future trade support for the company.

Its investigative findings were released Tuesday in the first final report issued by the Canada Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) since it opened its doors to receive complaints in March, 2021.

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Forced-labour watchdog cites B.C. mining company, which says claims are nonsensical – by Dylan Robertson (B.C. CTV News/Canadian Press – March 26, 2024)


Ottawa’s corporate-ethics watchdog says a Vancouver-based mining company has allowed forced labour to occur at its gold mine in the Xinjiang region of China, even though the firm lost control of the project before the alleged slavery took place.

The company cited, Dynasty Gold Corp., says it’s being tarnished by baseless allegations on timelines that make no sense, but ombudsperson Sheri Meyerhoffer said companies are responsible for holdings they jointly control. The finding Tuesday is the first determination the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise has made since the office was created by the Liberals in 2018.

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US court sides with Apple, Tesla, other tech companies over child labor in Africa – by Jonathan Stempel (Reuters – March 6, 2024)


March 5 (Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Tuesday refused to hold five major technology companies liable over their alleged support for the use of child labor in cobalt mining operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In a 3-0 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of Google parent Alphabet, Apple, Dell Technologies, Microsoft and Tesla rejecting an appeal by former child miners and their representatives.

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Gold and mercury, not books, for Venezuela’s child miners (Channel News Asia – September 20, 2023)


EL CALLAO, Venezuela: At 10-years-old, Martin cannot read, but he is an old hand at detecting traces of the gold he and his young cousins dig for at an open-pit mine in south-eastern Venezuela. In the town of El Callao, extracting gold from soil starts as a kid’s game, but soon becomes a full-time job that human rights activists slam as dangerous exploitation.

Small and agile, the children’s size helps them shimmy into narrow wells to hack out muddy earth, hoping it will contain gold – which has become ever more precious as Venezuela’s oil production has plummeted.

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In Quest for Battery Metals, U.S. Takes On Cobalt’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’ – by Alexandra Wexler and Yusuf Khan (Wall Street Journal – August 24, 2023)


U.S. officials are offering grants to companies willing to support workers in Congo’s dangerous informal mining sector

The U.S. is turning to a much-criticized source as it races to secure supplies of battery metals to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles. To do so, it is homing in on cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s informal mining sector, where miners, sometimes including children, often work with no safety equipment in dangerous, hand-dug mines.

Congo supplies around 70% of the world’s cobalt, a key metal in the lithium-ion batteries used in EVs, with about a third of that coming from these so-called artisanal miners.

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Inconvenient truth: Green energy is the colour of Congolese blood – by Gerry Chidiac (Troy Media – August 24, 2023)


The toxic truth behind “green energy” technologies, cobalt, and the exploitation of the Congo

If there’s a hell, it’s a teenage mother with a sick child strapped to her back, breaking rocks and putting them into a sack while she and her baby breathe in toxic dust. If she’s lucky, she’ll make a dollar or two and they will buy something to eat. They will both be dead in less than a year.

This is not a dystopian fantasy. This is the reality for an artisan cobalt miner in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She is the one who gathers the minerals needed so you can recharge your smartphone, your laptop, your headphones, and your shiny electric vehicle.

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NEWS RELEASE: Families Depend on Income from Child Labour in Congo’s Cobalt Mines to Stave Off Hunger

Efforts to eliminate child labour in cobalt supply chains need to address root causes or risk further jeopardizing children’s safety and well-being

OTTAWA, Canada, July 14, 2023/ — IMPACT’s (www.ImpactTransform.org) new research reveals how poverty is a driving force behind child labour in Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) artisanal cobalt mines.

Among rising costs, families are struggling to make ends meet. Many are going hungry. Children work when families get desperate, leading to a reliance on income from child labour to cover basic needs like food, clothing, or school fees.

In its latest research report, How Households Depend on Children’s Income: The Case for Improving Women’s Livelihoods to Eliminate Child Labour in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Cobalt Sector (https://apo-opa.info/3rkYTBg), IMPACT finds that families depend most on women’s income. When mothers are struggling, children step in to help. Some are encouraged by their parents, or independently follow their siblings, friends, and neighbours.

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Watchdog probing claims that Nike Canada, gold company benefiting from forced Uyghur labour – by Catharine Tunney (CBC New Politics – July 11, 2023)


Canada’s watchdog for corporate wrongdoing says she has enough to launch an investigation of allegations that Nike Canada and a gold mining company are benefiting from the forced labour of Uyghurs in China.

It’s the first time the office of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) has launched an investigation since the federal government appointed Sheri Meyerhoffer to the role in April 2019. “These are very serious issues that have been brought to our attention,” Meyerhoffer said Tuesday.

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US measure would ban products containing mineral mined with child labor in Congo – by Taiwo Adebayo (ABC News/Associated Press – July 3, 2023)


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.

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Column: Is it time to embrace Congo’s artisanal cobalt miners? – by Andy Home (Reuters – April 4, 2023)


LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) – The problems around artisanal cobalt mining in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will take “a coalition to solve”, according to Microsoft (MSFT.O). The $1.9 trillion U.S. tech giant was recently in the DRC to see what the other end of the consumer electronics supply chain looks like.

Microsoft chief of staff, tech and corporate responsibility Michele Burlington paid a visit in December to the Mutoshi artisanal mining site, where up to 15,000 miners, including children, are working in highly dangerous conditions.

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BOOKS: The horrors behind the mining industry that powers your life – by Russ Mitchell (Los Angeles Times – February 13, 2023)


You, the smartphone addict. The modern nomad, lugging your fancy laptop. The electric car driver, smug in your certainty that you’re making the world a better place. Look over here, under this rock; look at what you’d rather not see.

That’s what Siddharth Kara invites you to do in his damning new book, “Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives.” Maybe you already know our booming battery-based economy depends on cobalt mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You’ve heard things are bad there. But I’d guess that, like me — smartphone addict, laptop lugger, owner of an electric car — you had no idea just how bad.

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Microsoft calls for ‘coalition’ to improve Congo’s informal cobalt mines (Reuters – February 8, 2023)


CAPE TOWN, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Microsoft visited an artisanal cobalt mine in Democratic Republic of Congo in December as part of attempts to jump-start formalisation of the little-regulated and dangerous industry that experts say is key to meeting global demand for the battery material.

Congo accounts for three-quarters of the world’s mined cobalt supply. Industrial mines produce most of Congo’s cobalt, but “artisanal” miners, who dig by hand and often die when tunnels cave in, account for up to 30% of production, though that fluctuates depending on price.

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How Is Your Phone Powered? Problematically. – by Matthieu Aikins (New York Times – January 23, 2023)


Siddharth Kara’s “Cobalt Red” takes a deep dive into the horrors of mining the valuable mineral — and the many who benefit from others’ suffering.

Cobalt, a mineral essential to the batteries of smart devices and electric vehicles — and therefore to the future — is haunted by a past of slavery and colonialism. The phone in your hand contains several grams of this element; some of it, as Siddharth Kara shows in “Cobalt Red,” was likely mined by people hacking away in toxic pits for subsistence wages.

Used as a source of blue pigment since antiquity, cobalt has joined blood diamonds and forced-labor shrimp as the latest bête noire of critics of globalization. Nearly half of the world’s reserves are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a conflict-stricken country that has long been the site of a geopolitical scramble for strategic resources.

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Podcast Reveals Modern Day Slavery at CCP-Controlled Cobalt Mines in the Congo – by Bryan Jung (The Epoch Times – December 28, 2022)


A revealing podcast has again brought to light the problem of slavery at Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-owned cobalt mines in the Congo and the hypocrisy of green energy advocates.

Siddharth Kara, author of Cobalt Red: How The Blood of The Congo Powers Our Lives and a visiting Harvard professor, told his host Joe Rogan about his research and findings after his visit to the mines in the Democratic Republic of The Congo (DRC). He explained to Rogan the brutal connection between lithium battery powered devices and their source of origin in the CCP-controlled cobalt mines.

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U.S. says Chinese lithium-ion batteries are made with child labour as trade war spills into EVs – by Naimul Karim (Financial Post – October 18, 2022)


Experts say it’s a subtle example of how the U.S. intends to offset Beijing’s influence over a once-in-a-lifetime technological change

The U.S. government’s decision to tie a generous electric-vehicle subsidy to inputs from friendly countries was an obvious attempt to shift the EV supply chains away from China.

But the power of the purse isn’t the only strategy available to Washington. The Biden administration in late September added lithium-ion batteries from China to the U.S. Labor Department’s list of products derived from child and forced labour, a more subtle example of how the United States intends to offset Beijing’s influence over a once-in-a-lifetime technological change, some industry insiders say.

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