Apple and Google named in US lawsuit over child cobalt mining deaths in Congo

Annie Kelly for The Guardian:

A landmark legal case has been launched against the world’s largest tech companies by Congolese families who say their children were killed or maimed while mining for cobalt used to power smartphones, laptops and electric cars, the Guardian can reveal.

Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla have been named as defendants in a lawsuit filed in Washington DC by human rights firm International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 parents and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The lawsuit accuses the companies of aiding and abetting in the death and serious injury of children who they claim were working in cobalt mines in their supply chain.

The families argue in the claim that their children were working illegally at mines owned by UK mining company Glencore. The court papers allege that cobalt from the Glencore-owned mines is sold to Umicore, a Brussels-based metal and mining trader, which then sells battery-grade cobalt to Apple, Google, Tesla, Microsoft and Dell.

MacDailyNews Take: If anything, the responsibility is Glencore’s, not any of the other named defendants.

In Apple’s 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report, Apple stated a new goal: Ending mining by working toward a “closed-loop supply chain” that would allow the company to stop mining the earth for rare minerals and metals.

10 Comments

        1. You raise some interesting questions, Chef:

          If making babies is so bad, why is the US drastically cutting its funding for family planning programs?

          If we are going to hold their mothers responsible, why are so many of these children conceived by rape in civil wars or by women who cannot legally refuse sex to their husbands or by “brides” who would be below the age of consent in most First World countries?

          If we are going to blame the fathers, how were they supposed to predict that they would be unable to feed their children today when they were conceived years ago under possibly much different conditions?

          More generally, why is the first reaction of many folks to blame the victims?

          Even if the victims are blameworthy, how does that excuse exploiting them?

          1. You’re introducing a lot of hypotheticals. Nowhere is there mention that these children were conceived by rape. For all we know, they’re all love children.

            Let’s be realistic… I highly doubt these children were conceived by parents who were wealthy and suddenly lost their wealth.

            In this instance, I consider Apple and Google the victims of SJWs.

  1. I am absolutely certain that all mining operations in all countries are risky and likely deadly. At least they always have been for the last century or so. I’m not saying it’s a good thing but these types of jobs are seen as opportunities for citizens to make money and they’re willing to take the risk. It does seem as though those children’s parents should be the ones to blame for letting them work in such a dangerous work environment. Children don’t belong in any mines. That mining crap should be strictly for adults and it’s not even good for adults.

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