US Mining Project Blocked Days After Biden Admin Signs Rare Metals Deal With Countries Known For Child Labor Exploitation

REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

According to the Daily Caller News Foundation, this was just days after the White House had signed a rare metals agreement with two countries that exploit child labor.

The White House has signed a memorandum of agreement with Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to create a supply chain of batteries for electric vehicles as part of the ongoing efforts of the Biden Administration to get rid of gas-powered cars.

According to the Department of Labor both countries are well-known for using child labor in mining rare metals such as cobalt or copper.

A week later, the Biden administration stopped a Minnesota mining project by banning mining on roughly 225,504 acres of the Superior National Forest. After the Department of the Interior issued Public Land Order 7917 Thursday, the mining project that was to extract nickel or copper was effectively halted.

The administration praised the agreement with Zambia and DRC as supporting “crucial components” of the urgently required global energy transition that will “strengthen the electric vehicle battery value chain.”

According to the White House, more than 70% of world’s cobalt comes from the DRC. Zambia is the top cobalt producer in Africa and one of the largest copper producers. These rare metals are required to make electric vehicles batteries, cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices.

The press release stated that the plan to create an electric battery supply chain opens up the possibility of open and transparent investments to build value-added, sustainable industry in Africa and create a just transition for local workers.

According to the Department of Labor in DRC, child labor exploitation is a common problem.

The DOL stated that children in the Democratic Republic of Congo are subject to the most severe forms of child labor. This includes forced mining of gold (cassiterite), tantalum (coltan), tantalum (coltan), and titanium (wolframite). They are also used in armed conflicts, sometimes as a result of the forcible recruitment of abduction by non-state arm groups.” The Copperbelt region also has cobalt ore (heterogenite).

According to the department, 5,000-35,000 children are employed in DRC’s cobalt mines.

Children in Zambia are forced to mine for tin and chrome as well as gold, ore, ore, gems, and/ore.

According to the Daily Caller, the White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.