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India: Despite reports on child deaths in mica mines, new investigations find company initiatives failing to have any tangible action on the ground
Author: Nita Bhalla, Thomson Reuters Foundation, India, Published on: 4 January 2018
"In search of sparkle: is corporate inaction on mica condemning Indian children to death?" 19 December 2017
...Just over a year ago, a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation found children in India were dying in the depths of crumbling, illegal mines for the prized mineral that puts the sparkle in make-up and car paint - but their deaths covered up.
The discovery that seven children had died in two months alone prompted pledges by multinationals sourcing mica from India to clean up their supply chains, and state authorities vowed to accelerate plans to legalise and regulate the sector.
But returning to the major mica producing areas in India's Jharkhand and Bihar states in recent weeks, the Thomson Reuters Foundation found that children were continuing to die in these remote, abandoned "ghost" mines...
The Responsible Mica Initiative(RMI) - whose 39 members include cosmetics firms Estee Lauder and L'Oréal, and German drugs and chemical group Merck KGaA - has raised little funds, and village activities to curb child labour have not started...