Cobalt Mining

Andre Massey

The United States biggest technology firms Apple, Microsoft, Google, Dell, and Tesla are being sued by the International Rights Advocates from Congolese families. The firms are accused of  complicity in the death of hundreds of African children who mine cobalt. 

Cobalt is a chemical element crucial to the production of lithium ion batteries that are used in smartphones and electric cars. A lawsuit was filed by the International Rights Advocates by 14 plaintiffs.

The complaint is about how these tech giants are benefiting from the deaths of the children that are mining for cobalt. CBS news stated these companies “knowingly benefiting from and aiding and abetting the cruel and brutal use of young children in Democratic Republic of Congo.”

I believe that these tech firms should not be benefiting from the cobalt mining of children who are dying. They use the aid of children in cobalt mining which is cruel. Terry Collingsworth of International Rights Advocates told CBS News that “his organization traced the supply chain back from the mine where the children were either killed maimed and have traced it back up to these companies”. 

Two-thirds of the global supply of cobalt comes from Congo. It would be hard for these companies to avoid Congo’s cobalt.

These companies should take responsibility of their supply chain, either help the children miners affected by cobalt mining or to find another source to mine cobalt. Lung disease and heart failure have been linked to high levels of cobalt, which is why many are pointing out these mining practices as illegal.

Children of DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) are suffering from harsh working conditions, as “hundreds of Congolese children have been forced by extreme poverty to work in the cobalt mines, digging in underground tunnels with primitive equipment for as little as $2 per day” stated by Market Watch.