This was just days after the White House signed a rare metals deal with two countries that exploit child labor, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
As part of the ongoing efforts of the Biden administration to eliminate gas-powered cars, the White House signed a memorandum of understanding with Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Department of Labor says both countries are well-known to use child labor when mining rare metals like cobalt and copper.
The Biden administration ended a Minnesota mining project a week later by prohibiting mining on approximately 225,504 acres of the Superior National Forest.
This order was issued to “protect Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and its surrounding watershed, a remarkable network f rivers, lakes, forests, and forests in northeastern Minnesota. It is the most visited wilderness area in the United States. ”
The administration touted the deal with Zambia and the DRC as supporting the “crucial components of the urgently needed global energy transition” that will “strengthen the electric vehicle battery value chain.”
The White House claims that more than 70% of the world’s cobalt is from the DRC. These rare materials are needed to make electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptops.
According to the press release, the plan to establish an electric battery supply chain opened up the possibility for transparent and open investments to build a value-added industry in Africa and provide a just transition for the local workforce.
Child labor exploitation is a serious problem according to the Department of Labor in DRC.
“Children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are subjected to the worst forms of child labor, including in the forced mining of gold, tin ore (cassiterite), tantalum ore (coltan), and tungsten ore (wolframite), and are used in armed conflict, sometimes as a result of forcible recruitment or abduction by non-state armed groups,” stated the DOL. “Children also mine cobalt ore (heterogeneity) in the Copperbelt region.”
The department estimates that between 5,000 and 25,000 children work in the cobalt mines of DRC.
Children from Zambia are forced to mine for chrome and tin, as well as ore and gems.
The DOL states that children in Zambia are often subject to child labor, including forced labor in agriculture and commercial sexual exploitation. “Jerabo gangs, illegal mining syndicates, employ children in Copperbelt Province for their mining activities. They force children to load trucks with stolen copper ore.
According to the Daily Caller the White House did not respond to a request to comment.