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Tech Giants Sued For Child Deaths In Cobalt Mines

Tech giants Apple, Google, Tesla, Dell and Microsoft are among the companies named in a lawsuit brought on behalf of both injured children and the parents of children killed in cobalt mining accidents in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Filed by the International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 Congolese families, the companies named have all been accused of “aiding and abetting the use of forced child labour in cobalt mines and explicit in exposing children to working conditions resulting in death and serious injury”.

Those involved in the lawsuit have accused the companies of knowing that the cobalt used in their devices could be linked to child labour, despite the extraction process being plagued by illegal mining concerns, human rights abuses and corruption.

The DRC produces 60% of the world’s supply of cobalt, which is used to produce lithium-ion batteries used to power electric cars, laptops, smartphones and other tech products.

“The young children mining Defendants’ cobalt are not merely being forced to work full-time, extremely dangerous mining jobs at the expense of their educations and futures,” the lawsuit reads.

“They are being regularly maimed and killed by tunnel collapses and other known hazards common to cobalt mining in the DRC.”

It was first suggested about four years ago that Apple was buying lithium-ion batteries from suppliers who bough materials from companies taking advantage of child labour in their mines, although at the time, there was no suggestions that Apple knew of the issue in their supply chain.

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