Thursday, August 10, 2017

Child Miners

From the Daily Mail:
Goldman Sachs, the merchant bank, calls cobalt ‘the new gasoline’ but there are no signs of new wealth in the DRC, where the children haul the rocks brought up from tunnels dug by hand. Adult miners dig up to 600ft below the surface using basic tools, without protective clothing or modern machinery. Sometimes the children are sent down into the narrow makeshift chambers where there is constant danger of collapse.

Cobalt is such a health hazard that it has a respiratory disease named after it – cobalt lung, a form of pneumonia which causes coughing and leads to permanent incapacity and even death. Even simply eating vegetables grown in local soil can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, thyroid damage and fatal lung diseases, while birds and fish cannot survive in the area.

No one knows quite how many children have died mining cobalt in the Katanga region in the south-east of the country. The UN estimates 80 a year, but many more deaths go unregistered, with the bodies buried in the rubble of collapsed tunnels. Others survive but with chronic diseases which destroy their young lives. Girls as young as ten in the mines are subjected to sexual attacks and many become pregnant. (Read more.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

They are all expendable in the quest for riches.