India: Investigations highlight child labour, debt bondage & illegal operations in mica mines

Investigations highlighted incidences of child labour, debt-bondage and unsafe work conditions mica mines of various indian states. Many of these mines are reported to be operating without licenses. The mica sourced from some of these mines is reportedly used in cosmetics and paints supplied to various international brands. The brands have launched investigations in their supply chains, while govt. ofJharkhand is considering to legalise some of the mines.

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Article
4 January 2018

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

 "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...

 

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Article
7 August 2016

Officials order investigations after exposé into cover-up of child deaths in mica mines

Author: Nita Bhalla & Rina Chandran, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Officials launched investigations...into child deaths in India's mica mines after the Thomson Reuters Foundation revealed children were being killed in illegal mines and their deaths covered up...Jharkhand's Minister of Labour, Raj Paliwar, said on Wednesday he was launching an investigation immediately...I have ordered a probe. I have directed the Labour Commissioner to investigate and submit a report...Children engaged by anybody as child labourers is illegal and we will take strong action against such people whoever they may be and however powerful they are....Iqbal Khan, joint Secretary of Mines in Rajasthan, said the authorities were unaware of child workers in mica but would investigate.

 

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Article
2 August 2016

Blood Mica: Key findings of investigation into child deaths in India's illegal mica mines

Author: Thomson Reuters Foundation

In the depths of India's illegal mica mines, where children as young as five work alongside adults, lurks a dark, hidden secret - the cover-up of child deaths with seven killed in the past two months, a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation revealed...some of the key findings of a three-month long investigation in the states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh into child labour involved in producing mica, the mineral that puts the sparkle into make-up and car paint...Mine operators and victims' families are covering up these deaths, not reporting them but accepting payments for fear of ending the illegal mining that brings much needed income to poor areas, according to campaigners and victims' families. 

 

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Article
31 July 2016

Paint used by car makers linked to illegal mines in India reliant on child labour and debt bondage, company responses included

Author: Peter Bengtsen & Annie Kelly, Guardian [UK]

"Vauxhall and BMW among car firms linked to child labour over glittery mica paint", 28 July 2016

Some of the world’s biggest car makers including Vauxhall, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi are launching investigations into their paint supply chains after the Guardian linked their suppliers to illegal mines in India where child labour and debt bondage are widespread...Phil Bloomer, executive director of the Business & Human Rights Centre, said...Nobody wants the curse of forced and child labour in their supply chains, but, with large-scale hidden production, it takes a lot more than a simple audit of your apparent ‘supplier’ to eliminate modern slavery from your supply chain....Volkswagen (which owns Audi)...[said]...We are engaging with these relevant suppliers to further evaluate the allegations and investigate whether or not a corrective action plan shall be implemented....Vauxhall (part of GM group)...[said]... GM will conduct a full investigation of these suppliers regarding the allegations...BMW...[said]...If the allegations are substantiated, we will do everything to ensure that the company involved is no longer part of our supply chain in the future

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Article
27 July 2016

Beauty companies and the struggle to source child labour-free mica

Author: Peter Bengtsen & Laura Paddison, Guardian [UK]

Nearly a decade after child labour in mica mining came to light, the cosmetic industry’s progress on cleaning up its supply chain for the glittery mineral has been slow and tricky...more than a decade after cosmetics suppliers were alerted to its existence, child labour remains prevalent in mica mining in the two states of Jharkand and Bihar, responsible for around 25% of the world’s production.

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