Net Zero’s Dirty Secret: Child Labor in Congo’s Mines

News & Politics

There are many dirty little secrets of “net zero” goals, but perhaps the worst one is the massive child labor in Congo’s mines. Children are enslaved and overworked so that self-righteous leftists can drive Teslas.

The “climate crisis” is a total scam, as is “green energy,” which is actually toxic for the environment. The batteries in electric vehicles (EVs) are also very toxic to make and dispose of. In fact, “Driving Electric” stated in 2020 that cobalt is necessary for all EV and plug-in hybrid car batteries. “Around 60% of the world’s cobalt comes from mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the metal is sometimes dug out by hand in unregulated conditions, often by child labourers,” the website admitted. According to “Ethical Consumer” in 2022, the percentage is even higher: “70% of the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Unfortunately, child labor is a massive problem in the Congo.

In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), child labor is involved in Congo’s cobalt ore, copper, diamond, gold, tantalum ore, tin ore, and tungsten ore mining. From the DOL:

During the year [2022], the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo supplied weapons and munitions to non-state armed groups known for recruiting children. Children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are also subjected to other forms of the worst forms of child labor, including in the forced mining of gold, tin ore (cassiterite), tantalum ore (coltan), and tungsten ore (wolframite), and are used in armed conflict, sometimes as a result of forcible recruitment or abduction by non-state armed groups. Children also mine cobalt ore (heterogenite) in the Copperbelt region. The government did not publish labor or criminal law enforcement data.

The UK Guardian reported in 2016, “Children as young as seven are working in perilous conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to mine cobalt that ends up in smartphones, cars and computers sold to millions across the world.” An estimated 40,000 children were working in southern DRC mines. The supply chain went from the mines to a wholly owned subsidiary of a Chinese mineral company. “The report says that child miners as young as seven carried back-breaking loads and worked in intense heat for between one or two dollars a day without face masks or gloves,” the Guardian noted. “Several children said they had been beaten by security guards employed by mining companies and forced to pay ‘fines’ by unauthorised mines police sent by state officials to extort money and intimidate workers.” The problem hasn’t been solved since 2016.

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UK commentator James Melville posted a video of a vast crowd of child slaves in the DRC, with the comment, “The unethical truth of net zero. Around 40,000 child slaves in Congo work in hazardous conditions in cobalt mines, with inadequate safety equipment and for very little money. The cobalt is used in many products – including electric car batteries.”

And yet, leftists unceasingly screech that EVs and “net zero” carbon goals (impossible, especially since humans are carbon-based life forms) are the “ethical” choice. “How electric cars can advance environmental justice: By putting low-income and racially diverse drivers behind the wheel,” declared “The Conversation.” Actually, EVs are too expensive for low-income drivers, and apparently racial diversity doesn’t include saving African children from abusive labor conditions. But why let reality interfere with woke ideology?

Meanwhile, “Business Insider” tried this ridiculous justification, “Yes, electric vehicles are greener than gas cars — even when they use dirty power.” No mention of child labor in the piece. Even while admitting the DRC child labor issue, the  Guardian argued, “The Guardian view on electric cars: greener roads are good.”

It’s all a lie. EV batteries are toxic to manufacture and dispose of, and they require abusive child labor in Africa. But leftists never like to allow reality to interfere with their virtue-signaling ideology.

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