Microsoft, Tesla, Dell, Apple and Google are among the technology giants that are being accused of compromising with cobalt suppliers who used children to mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the British newspaper The guardian, the work of producing an important component for batteries has caused death and serious injury to several children.
Mineral, which is an essential component of lithium batteries used in smartphones, tablets, laptops and electric vehicles, comes mostly (60%) from south-eastern DR Congo and has been in strong demand in recent years, following the development. of technology.
This could be a process with profound implications for the world technology sector, especially since the largest companies are identified as clients of companies that used children to work in the mines.
The lawsuit was filed in Washington DC, USA, by International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 Congolese parents and children. “The technology boom has intensified corporate demand for cobalt,” explained International Rights Advocates, a household representative.
The complainants argue that the children were illegally working in cobalt mines owned by the British Glencore, which sells part of the production to Umicore, which in turn sells this ore to companies such as the technology giants.
The children tried to escape extreme poverty by working in exchange for one to two dollars (0.90 to 1.79 euros) a day in the mines, digging for cobalt stones with primitive tools inside dark underground tunnels.
“Cobalt is mined in DR Congo under extremely dangerous conditions,” the association explained. In fact, these working conditions have led to the death and serious injury of several children, some of whom will have been paralyzed following accidents such as tunnel crashes.