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Article

14 Gen 2022

Author:
Ian Morse, Green Rocks

DRC: Cobalt mining firms allegedly using subcontractors to evade accountability for poor working conditions

"Cobalt miners call out 'neocolonialism' as firms avoid accountability"

Not too long ago, reports emerging from the Democratic Republic of Congo jumpstarted many of the conversations about mining for renewable energy technology. The Congo last year produced close to two-third’s of global cobalt, half of which is used in electric vehicle batteries...

Through a layer of subcontractors, mining companies evade accountability for operating unsafe work conditions that subject workers to excessive hours, discrimination, and physical abuse. Wages were “extremely low”, far below a living wage. The two organizations calculated a living wage for a family of six at just $402 a month.

“The majority of the employees we interviewed told us that they feel they live in a form of ‘neocolonialism’. That’s the term they used,” Josué Kashal, a lawyer for CAJJ, wrote in response to questions from Green Rocks. “It seems that these foreign investors come to the region to get rich cheaply and as quickly as possible — at the expense of the well-being of workers and communities nearby.”

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