Artisanal cobalt mining in the DRC: steps already in play

This article is based on Prof. Dorothée Baumann-Pauly’s interview, who conducted an independent expert assessment of cobalt-producing mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which led to a white paper released by the World Economic Forum, titled “Making Mining Safe and Fair: Artisanal cobalt extraction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”.

The DRC accounts for more than 63% of global cobalt production and the potential to increase this number is significant. Car manufacturers, metal traders and miners themselves all have an active interest in ensuring a long-term cobalt supply pipeline that will guarantee business sustainability and profitability. To a large extent, the DRC’s sustainable future depends on the use, management, and formalization of the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector.

The goal of Dorothée Baumann-Pauly’s assessment was to identify actions that could eliminate violations of human rights and the use of child labor in sourcing cobalt in the DRC.

Her research findings identified that the formalization of ASM practices is an essential step to address the widespread human rights problems that are prevalent today at Congolese mining sites, and that the jobs and income created on formalized ASM sites can help to reduce extreme poverty, which is a root cause of child labor.

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