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A measure has been introduced in the U.S. House to ban imported products containing minerals critical to electric vehicle batteries but mined through child labor and other abusive conditions in DR Congo. The bill targets China, which sponsor Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey says uses forced labor and exploits children to mine cobalt in the impoverished but resource-rich central African country.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the world’s largest producer of cobalt, a mineral used to make lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, a key pillar of President Joe Biden’s climate plans. China controls the majority of the cobalt mines in DR Congo, strengthening Beijing’s position in the global supply chain for electric vehicles and other products.
“On the backs of trafficked workers and child laborers, the Chinese Communist Party is exploiting the vast cobalt resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo to fuel its economy and global agenda,” Smith’s office accused in a statement following the bill’s introduction end of June.
Irish government to call for deep sea mining ‘pause’ worldwide
They want no deep sea mining to take place until a robust regulatory framework is in place to protect the marine environment joining a growing chorus of countries, scientists, civil society organisations and private companies calling for a precautionary pause of deep-sea mining. The international community has a responsibility to protect the marine environment, which is under greater pressure than ever.”
The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea established the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to regulate the exploration and exploitation of mineral resources of the international seabed, which falls outside any national jurisdiction.
The Irish Government has agreed to throw its weight behind calls for a “precautionary pause” of deep-sea mining on the international seabed.
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, welcomed yesterday’s Cabinet decision.
To date the ISA has only authorised exploration activities but there have been recent efforts by some states and mining companies to accelerate moves towards an exploitation phase.
That’s despite the fact negotiations on a mining code, including environmental regulations, have yet to be concluded, and significant scientific knowledge gaps persist.