Green energy ‘profiting on back of Congo miners’

Will Ross, Africa editor, BBC World Service

Human rights campaigners are calling on companies to increase the pay for impoverished miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo who are digging up cobalt – an essential commodity in the production of electric cars.

Huge mining companies engaged in the switch to greener energy are making multi-billion dollar profits, while the Congolese workers digging for cobalt are falling further into poverty.

That is the warning from two human rights groups – the UK’s Raid, and Cajj, which is based in southern DR Congo near Kolwezi where most of the world’s cobalt is mined.

Food prices there have been soaring and the campaign groups say most miners are being paid much less than the $480 (£390) a month they need to support their families.

They want the mining giants, including those from Europe and China that operate DR Congo’s industrial mines, to pay more, and electric vehicle companies to end contracts with cobalt suppliers exploiting miners.

“The switch to clean energy must be a just transition, not one that leaves Congolese workers in increasingly desperate living conditions”, Cajj’s Josué Kashal said in a statement.

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