Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have taken an increasingly more natural place in the daily lives of people all over the world. They ensure that our smartphones, computers and electric cars work, and pulled out as a key factor on the road towards a green future in which fossil fuels can remain just fossil.
But for these batteries, as most norwegians will enjoy each and every day to work - so required to both cobalt and lithium. There are two minerals which are found in large quantities in some of the world's poorest countries.15 workers suffocated in illegal mine in dr Congo Child labour
It is estimated that around 60 per cent of the earth's koboltressurser found in The democratic republic of the Congo, and the country mourns alone for around 40 per cent of the global exports.
A significant proportion of cobalt which is extracted in the country comes from privately owned and unregulated mines, where both children and adults working under deadly conditions - for luselønn - to dig for "the new gold".
People who live in extreme poverty working in confined gruveganger, often without any other tools than his own hands. Without basic safety equipment or training, graves, after, among other things the mineral cobalt.
Unicef reported in 2012 that as many as 40 000 children worked in the mines in the south of the country, without that it was specified how many of those who worked in the koboltindustrien.
And all the time there are minimal laws and regulations which require that large international companies to document how the cobalt they buy comes from, it is virtually impossible to say with certainty that the smartphone you have in your pocket, or electrical car which is parked in the garage, not in part is a result of child labor or the unworthy working conditions in the Congo.PROVOSORISK: This photo from 2004 shows a man on the way into one of the provosoriske koboltgruvene in the Congo. Photo: Schalk van Zuydam / AP / NTB Scanpix Show more - A shame
Just pulled the fresh winner of the Nobel peace prize, Denis Mukwege, the fram during his speech during the award ceremony in the Oslo city hall on Monday.
I come from one of earth's richest countries. Nevertheless, my people is one of the poorest in the world. The disquieting reality is that the abundance of natural resources in our country - gold, coltan, cobalt and other strategic minerals - is the underlying cause of war, extreme violence and extreme poverty, he said.
He pointed out that "we all" are happy in the nice cars, jewelry and gadgets.
- I even have a smartphone. These items contain minerals which are found in our country. Often recovered those of young children under inhumane conditions, victims of threats and sexual violence, said he, and came with the following invitation:
- When you run your electric car, use your smartphone or admiring your jewelry, imagine for a moment the human cost of the manufacture of these objects have. The least we as consumers can do is to insist that these products are produced in such a way that human dignity is safeguarded.nobel peace prize winner: Denis Mukwege used Monday's speech in Oslo city hall to, among other things shed light on the situation in the home country of the Congo. Photo: Tobias Schwarz / AFP / NTB Scanpix Show more
He believes that not only is voldsutøvere who are responsible for their crimes, but also all those who choose to look away.
- To close my eyes for this drama is the same as being an accomplice, " said Mukwege.
During a press conference Sunday, he referred to the situation as "a shame, and something we must not accept".Took grip
After Amnesty International and the African Resources Watch uncovered child labor and deadly conditions at several of the country's unregulated mines, has several of the world's largest manufacturers of electronics advocated for a change.
Among them were companies such as Apple, Samsung SDI, HP, and Sony that went along about a measure under the name of "Responsible Cobalt Initiative", with the promise to follow the Oecd's claim about gjenomsiktig trade and to work against child labour, according to the Washington Post.
Many are still to do too little.PAUSE: Miners are pictured outside a koboltgruve in Tulwizembe in the Katanga province in Congo in 2015. Photo: Kenny Katombe / Reuters / NTB Scanpix Show more Sold on the open market
while the world's largest manufacturers of electric cars and smartphones say they want to use the "konfliktfri" cobalt, " says the meetings with the miners in the Congo is still a dark history.
When CNN earlier this year examined the conditions in the country's koboltindustri, they could document the extensive use of child labor at several mines (see the video at the top in this case).The Norwegian electric vehicle revolution is in danger to be a failure of the Leader
CNN found that the cobalt which is mined at several of the mines, being sold on the open market - without any control of who has been involved in the recovery. The raw materials are then bought by international companies who export it out of the country for further refining.
Sky News has previously documented that children in the 8-years of age are working at such mines.
from There, the road is still long to the companies that use minerals in their products. Within the cobalt finds its way to your smartphone, have it passed by several joints which hampers the ability to document exactly where it was mined.DISEASE: This photo from may 2016 shows a child and a woman who crushes the stones extracted from a koboltgruve in Lubumbashi, where mining operations should have led to pollution and disease. Photograph: Junior Kannah / AFP / NTB Scanpix Show more - People don't know
The excuse does not buy Amnesty International.
- They must be able to know if the cobalt comes from the Congo, and what kind of mines in the Congo that it comes from. When we confronted the companies with this, answered many of the big players that it was too costly to figure this out, " says Beate Ekeløve-Slydal, political advisor at Amnesty International Norway, before she adds:- It IS made was not some secret
If your Amnesty is able to track where this cobalt comes from, then there is no doubt that these multinational companies, with their vast resources, with ease could be found out of it, she believes.
Ekeløve-Slydal also believe it is worth to note that a part of elbilens appealing is the eco-friendly profile that comes with it.
Many who buy an electric car today makes it to contribute to something positive, and to be with the green shift. I think, however, that many of them do not know the situation in the Congo, " she says.< p> She digs up minerals that will be in your smartphone - Difficult to have control
Amnesty is far from alone to follow the situation in the country. Also, the rainforest foundation norway has followed the development over time.
Madel Gunnarshaug Rosland, head of the Regskogfondets Africa team, says to Dagbladet that the environmental organization would greatly appreciate that this year's nobel prize went to Mukwege.
Congo is a vast country and characterised by very serious conflicts. We hope that the award that is shared by the congolese dr. Mukwege can help to ensure that the country comes higher in the Norwegian and international agenda, " she says.Such was the militia-the mafia in the Congo mineralgruver
She points out many of the same problems Mukwege even pulled up in his nobeltale Monday.
- poor governance is a major problem in the DR Congo, which in turn leads to poor management of natural resources and severe conflicts. Control mechanisms are virtually non-existent. It also means that it is difficult to have control on what comes from legal and illegal concessions in the export market from logging, mining, and other extraction, " says Rosland.
In addition to the exploitation of poor people and child labour, also has several pointed out that koboltindustrien in the Congo can lead to avskogning in the country's major rainforests.
Rosland emphasizes that there currently exists little research on the effects of mining on the rainforest in the Congo, but says the following on a general basis:
- the mining industry involves major intervention in the nature. Not only from the mines, but also from the infrastructure - the roads taken to transport the minerals.