People around the world increasingly rely on rechargeable batteries to power their mobile phones, tablets, laptop computers and other portable electronic devices. The growing global market for portable electronic devices and rechargeable batteries is driving the growing demand for the extraction of cobalt, a key component in lithium-ion rechargeable
More than half of the world’s total supply of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According to the government’s own estimates, 20% of the cobalt currently exported from the DRC comes from artisanal miners in the southern part of
the country. There are approximately 110,000 to 150,000 artisanal miners in this region, who work alongside much larger industrial operations.
These artisanal miners, referred to as creuseurs in the DRC, mine by hand using the most basic tools to dig out rocks from tunnels deep underground. Artisanal miners include children as young as seven who scavenge for rocks containing cobalt in the discarded by-products of industrial mines, and who wash and sort the ore before it is sold.
Amnesty International and African Resources Watch: Read report