A CBS News investigation has found children as young as 4 years old are being used to mine for cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo—the source of half of the world’s supply of the battery mineral that powers everything from Apple iPhones and other handheld devices to laptops and Tesla’s electric vehicles. An Amnesty International report released Monday found young children laboring in every part of the DRC supply chain, with Chinese middlemen buying the supply from local miners. An Amnesty report in 2016 found that tech giants—including Apple, Samsung, and Sony—were using cobalt mined by children in the DRC in their devices; a 2017 follow-up report concluded that the companies had failed to properly address their use of child labor in raw-materials gathering. DRC officials denied the use of child labor within cobalt supply chains in their country, but CBS reporters found many child laborers out in the open.
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