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US to Ban Minerals Mined Under Dubious Conditions

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, who has been accused of using 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. The legislation comes amid strained ties between the U.S. and China. The extraction of the minerals has been linked to child and exploitative labor, environmental abuses and safety risks. In a 2016 report, Amnesty International blamed Chinese firms for child labor in Congo’s cobalt mining and multinational tech firms for failing to address the negative human rights issue in their supply chains.