Archive | Mining Child and Slave Labour – Historical and Current

Canada’s Boy Miners – by Robert McIntosh (Canada’s History — May 9, 2017)

Pennsylvania Child Coal Miners – Wiki

http://www.canadashistory.ca/

Like children in other late nineteenth and early twentieth-century Canadian communities, boys in colliery towns and villages worked.

“Long before your city boys are astir the pit boy is awakened by the steam whistles, which blow three long blasts at half-past five o’clock every morning, thus warning him that it is time to get up. Breakfast partaken of, he dons his pit clothes, usually a pair of indifferent-fitting duck trousers, generously patched, an old coat, and with a lighted tin lamp on the front of his cap, his tea and dinner cans securely fastened on his back, he is ready for work.

He must be at his post at 7 o’clock. Off he goes, and in a few minutes with a number of others, he is engaged in animated conversation, and having a high old time generally, as he is lowered on a riding rake to the bottom of the slope.”

— Halifax Morning Chronicle, 4 December 1890

Like children in other late nineteenth and early twentieth century Canadian communities, boys in colliery towns and villages worked. Like other children also, these boys started to work at an early age. Even well after the turn of this century, according to mining historian Lynne Bowen, “if a boy who had lived in a coal town got tired of school and was anxious to make a little money, the obvious thing for him to do was to go to work in the mines. Continue Reading →

Cobalt-mining boys given hope – but many still suffer – by Alex Crawford (Sky News – May 10, 2017)

http://news.sky.com/

Sky News has found children continue to work long hours in cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – months after multinational corporations insisted they had cracked down on this exploitation.

Despite multiple assurances from international companies about changing work practices and tightening up supply lines, we have found nothing has changed in practice on the ground.

After an overwhelming response to our report earlier this year, with offers of donations and adoption for the children featured in the report, as well as a White House petition demanding changes, we returned to the impoverished African country to try to find some of the young people involved. Continue Reading →

India ​to legalise mica mining in bid to tackle endemic child labour – by Kate Hodal (The Guardian – May 8, 2017)

https://www.theguardian.com/

India is to legalise the mining of mica, a sparkly mineral used in eyeshadows and car paint, in a bid to cut the number of children who labour – and often die – to produce it.

The announcement comes nearly a year after a series of Guardian investigations into mica found that crippling poverty forces many families and their children to mine the highly prized mineral, with as many as 20,000 children believed to be working in the mines, about 90% of which are illegal.

A later investigation by Thomson Reuters Foundation found that at least seven children had died in just two months as they scavenged for the mineral in illegal mines. Activists lauded the decision to legalise mica mining, but warned that high poverty levels meant the move was unlikely to stop child labour. Continue Reading →

The Human Thread Of Suffering Behind The Production Of Our Cell Phones And Laptops – by Alexandra Willis (Huffington Post South Africa – May 5, 2017)

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/

Reports around the disregard for human and labour rights in the production of smartphones and other digital technology have been rife for years. Many of the components used in our devices are reportedly sourced through child labour and inhumane working conditions. The high value of these minerals has also fuelled competition, resulting in conflict involving mass killings and rape as a weapon of war.

All of us who own a PC, phone or other electronic gadget enjoy the benefits of new technologies, but rarely do we spare a thought as to how they are made. Inside many of these electronic devices are components that began life as minerals dug underground, sometimes at a great cost of human dignity.

Miners in countries such as Myanmar, Bolivia, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) use children as young as seven who work in perilous conditions, scavenging for minerals in industrial mines and washing and sorting them before they are sold. The minerals travel through a chain of suppliers through Asia and elsewhere to be smelted into metals, and then onto the world at large where they end up in electronics, as well in vehicles and jewelry. Continue Reading →

Tech firms must go beyond Congo’s ‘conflict minerals’ to clean supply chain: study – by J.D. Capelouto (Reuters U.S. – April 6, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Abuses linked to mining in countries such as Myanmar and Colombia are being overlooked by technology companies focused only on eliminating “conflict minerals” from war-torn parts of Africa in their supply chains, researchers said on Thursday.

In Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), competition for mineral resources has fueled two decades of conflict in its eastern provinces, including a 1998-2003 war that killed millions, mostly from hunger and disease.

Congo’s supply of tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold – metals used in smartphones, batteries and laptops – has been under scrutiny since 2010, when U.S. laws required U.S.-listed firms to ensure supply chains were free from “conflict minerals”. Continue Reading →

Tanzania struggles to end child labor from the lure of gold – by Krista Mahr (Reuters U.S. – April 3, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

NYALIGONGO, Tanzania (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Three years ago, 14-year-old Julius left his family near the lakeside city of Mwanza, Tanzania, to try his luck mining gold. Today Julius is in no hurry to leave, despite having one of the riskiest jobs on a chaotic mine site – handling mercury each day with his bare hands.

“It’s good work. I’m paid well,” Julius, who only wanted to use his first name, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, wearing an orange t-shirt and skinny jeans coated red dirt. Julius, now 17, said he has been working with mercury for three years – but no one had ever told him it was dangerous.

There are more than four million child laborers in Tanzania aged between 5 and 17, according to a government survey released last year in conjunction with the International Labour Organization. That’s roughly a third of the country’s children. Continue Reading →

The truth about South Africa’s illegal mining industry – by Graeme Hosken, Shenaaz Jamal, Jan Bornman and Kyle Cowan (Rand Daily Mail – March 27, 2017)

https://www.businesslive.co.za/

It’s a multibillion-dollar transnational business empire with its own financial targets, line managers, security personnel and CEOs

It’s a multibillion-dollar transnational business empire with its own financial targets, line managers, security personnel and CEOs. The playing field is spread over 6,000 disused gold, diamond, chrome and platinum mines across South Africa.

With a workforce of up to 30,000 people – equivalent to the population of a small mining town such as Carletonville on the West Rand – the operations of illegal mining syndicates run day and night.

Many of the illegal miners are immigrants, often working in conditions reminiscent of slavery. Illegal mining has been identified as a national threat and a multi-agency team has been formed toco-ordinate government efforts to combat it, says the Chamber of Mines. Continue Reading →

Meet Dorsen, 8, who mines cobalt to make your smartphone work – by Alex Crawford (Sky News.com – February 2017)

http://news.sky.com/

A Sky News investigation has found children as young as four working in Congolese mines where cobalt is extracted for smartphones.

The mineral is an essential component of batteries for smartphones and laptops, making billions for multinationals such as Apple and Samsung, yet many of those working to extract it are earning as little as 8p a day in desperately dangerous conditions.

With little regulation requiring companies to trace their cobalt supply lines, and most of the world’s cobalt coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the chances are your smartphone contains a battery with cobalt mined by children in the central African nation. Continue Reading →

US has provided $315m in financing to supplier of mines accused of slave labor – by Eduardo Garcia (The Guardian – February 22, 2017)

https://www.theguardian.com/

An obscure US government agency has provided $315m in taxpayer-supported financing over the past decade to a company that has supplied equipment to African mines accused of slave labor, human rights violations and environmental destruction.

Between 2007 and 2015, the US Export-Import Bank provided 48 insurance policies to the New Jersey-headquartered Connell Company to pursue deals with at least 17 mining companies in seven sub-Saharan countries.

These included a $20,000 policy to supply equipment to the Bisha copper mine in Eritrea, which is being investigated by a Canadian court amid accusations of slavery, according to an investigation of the bank by the Guardian and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project. Continue Reading →

Child labor in eastern Cameroon’s gold mines – by Moki Kindzeka (Deutsche Welle – January 5, 2017)

http://www.dw.com/en/

Children in eastern Cameroon leave school as young as seven to work in gold mines. Moki Kindzeka travelled to the mining town of Betare-Oya where residents have an uneasy relationship with the Chinese mining community.

The road to Betare-Oya in eastern Cameroon is better than it used to be. Five years ago, it was narrow and bumpy but in the meantime the surface has been tarred and the ride is much smoother.

Simon Estil, the senior government official in Betare-Oya, says urban development in the area is being driven by gold mining. He said there used to be a market just once a week, now the market is open daily and a second one has sprung up. Continue Reading →

Tech companies pledge to keep kids out of the cobalt mines that power your smartphone – by Peter Whoriskey and Todd C. FRankel (Toronto Star – December 22, 2016)

https://www.thestar.com/

WASHINGTON POST – Separate groups of the world’s leading technology companies are launching two initiatives to curb “the worst forms of child labour” and other abusive practices in the supply chain for cobalt, a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric cars.

About 60 per cent of the world’s cobalt originates in the Congo, where hand-dug mines rife with dangers attract legions of poorly-equipped, “artisanal” miners who work for as little as $2 a day

Apple, HP, Samsung SDI, and Sony have joined an effort, known as the Responsible Cobalt Initiative. It is being led by a Chinese business group, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Metals, Minerals & Chemicals, and supported by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to the group. Continue Reading →

Flawed diamond regulations fuelling child labour in Congo mines – campaigners – by Kieran Guilbert (Reuters U.K. – December 21, 2016)

http://uk.reuters.com/

DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The failure of European jewellery firms to scrutinise their supply chains and a flawed diamond certification scheme are fuelling child labour and sexual abuse in artisanal mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a campaign group said on Thursday.

Thousands of children work illegally in diamond mines in Congo’s diamond-rich Kasai region – mainly to pay for food and school fees – and girls who live around the mines are prey to rape, forced marriage and prostitution, according to Swedwatch.

Yet few jewellery firms have policies to assess the risk of child labour and abuses in their diamond supply chains, and many do not provide public information about efforts to operate responsibly, Swedwatch said in a report. Continue Reading →

[Child Miners] The dark side of 2016 holiday gift-giving – by Sally Greenberg (Huffington Post – December 8, 2016)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

Holiday shopping season is already well underway. In fact, if you haven’t started putting your credit cards to use and checking gifts for loved ones off your lists, you might feel behind already. This year, Christmas-gift-purchasing Americans said they expected to spend an average of $831, according to Gallup—no small expense for most of us. And nearly one in three of us expects to spend $1,000 or more on Christmas gifts this year.

But there’s a dark side to the enthusiastic holiday gift-buying and giving that a majority of us doesn’t realize: many of the gifts we purchase to wear, eat, or use on a daily basis are made by the tiny hands of exploited child laborers aged anywhere from four to 17. Continue Reading →

In Mineral-Rich DRC, Widespread Poverty Is Driving Children to Work in, Near Mines – by Noella Nyirabihogo (Mexico Star – November 8, 2016)

http://www.mexicostar.com/

Global Press Journal – Despite the immense mineral wealth in DRC, people here live in endemic poverty. In Rubaya, a powerful evidence of that poverty is the large number of young children who have dropped out of school or who have fended for themselves from an early age.

A 2009 law prohibits all forms of economic exploitation of any person under 18 years of age, and some of the larger mines have removed children from their sites to comply with that law, even as they declined to confirm there were children working at the sites.

In addition to the DRC’s law, the International Labour Organization states that mining is one of the worst forms of child labor, calling it a “work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.” Continue Reading →

Canadian firm faces new forced labour claims over Eritrean mine – by Karen McVeigh (The Guardian – October 14, 2016)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Dozens of Eritreans are to join a groundbreaking civil action in Canada as plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Nevsun Resources, which majority-owns the Bisha mine in north-west Eritrea, following a ruling last week.

Two of them – Kadane, a security guard, and Aman, an administrator – spoke out for the first time about what they claim they experienced at the mine: forced labour, horrendous working conditions and a climate of fear and intimidation.

“The mine was like an open prison,” Kadane told the Guardian. “They can take you and do what they want with you. I was owned by them. We were like objects for the government and for foreign companies to do with us what they wanted.” Continue Reading →