Electronics Watch is today launching a new series called "Meet our Affiliates". The series will showcase some of our 1,538 affiliates and shine a light on the key people implementing responsible procurement within them. Today we publish the first of these profiles.
Part two – Obstacles and opportunities to improve conditions for miners
In part one, we reported on some of the shocking working conditions that the Electronics Watch team found on our visit to cobalt mines in the DRC. Now, we look at the vested interests in Congolese politics, the mining industry, the Congolese government's desire to regulate the cobalt supply chain, and what else might be done to improve conditions.
Part One – The precarious reality of artisanal mines
Electronics Watch travelled to Kolwezi in the province of Lualaba, in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Two worlds live side by side here, without ever crossing paths. On the one hand, the world of industrial mines, with their huge machines. On the other, the tens of thousands of "diggers" in small-scale artisanal mines, armed with a simple crowbar to exploit a mineral vein, in extremely dangerous conditions. The DRC alone has 80% of the world's cobalt stocks needed to manufacture batteries to serve the demand for electric vehicles, and no less than 30% of this stock is mined in an artisanal way. One to two million Congolese people depend on this production directly or indirectly, while world demand is booming.
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