Thursday, January 28, 2016
From Nigrizia.it. An investigation by Amnesty International and Afrewatch, into the best known brand names in electronics and car makers. The Congo Dongfang Mining International, a Chinese company, is at the center of this business. Out of 16 firms that were interviewed only one revealed the source of the raw material. The others professed not to know. Hundreds of people die every year. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the source of about half of the world’s production of cobalt. Treated cobalt is sold to three companies in China and South Korea that produce batteries for smart phones and cars. These businesses, in turn, supply the companies in Europe and the Americas that sell electronic products and cars.

Nowadays we are all constantly using cell phones, tablets, laptops and other portable electronic gadgets and we often complain because the rechargeable lithium batteries that make them work last such a short time. However, very few people know that cobalt, the element needed to produce these batteries, is the product of underpaid adults and children working in sub-human conditions in the mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The DRC is the source of about half of the world’s production of cobalt. Treated cobalt is sold to three companies in China and South Korea that produce batteries for smart phones and cars. These businesses, in turn, supply the companies in Europe and the Americas that sell electronic products and cars. [Marco Simoncelli writes for Nigrizia].