June 5, 2020 Press Release
Apple, Alphabet, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla, Which Are Aiding and Abetting Extreme Abuse of Children Mining Cobalt in DRC, Must Provide Support to the Mining Families That Have Suffered Serious Injuries and Require Their Suppliers Glencore and Huayou Cobalt to Join Them in Providing Support
Contact: Terry Collingsworth, Executive Director
On December 16, 2019 IRAdvocates filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of 14 Doe Plaintiffs who are either guardians of children killed in tunnel or wall collapses while mining cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”) or children who were maimed in such accidents. The DRC has the world’s largest deposits of cobalt, an essential element of rechargeable lithium-ion battery in products made by all tech and electric car companies. The tech boom has caused an explosion in demand for cobalt, but in one of the most extreme contrasts imaginable, cobalt is mined in the DRC under extremely dangerous stone age conditions by children paid a dollar or two a day to supply cobalt for the expensive gadgets made by some of the richest companies in the world. The lawsuit names Apple, Alphabet (Google), Dell, Microsoft, and Tesla as Defendants. Plaintiffs have evidence that these companies in particular aided and abetted suppliers Glencore and Huayou Cobalt that abused and profited from forcing Plaintiffs and other children to mine cobalt under conditions that led to their deaths or serious, crippling injuries.
Recent press reports indicate that both Glencore and Huayou are claiming that, based on complaints from their buyers following the IRAdvocates lawsuit, they will stop purchasing cobalt from artisanal miners. See, for example, https://www.ft.com/content/ce9af944-fb70-4576-88d0-dc76821facfd.
IRAdvocates demands that these companies not be permitted to simply cut and run, leaving the families of dead and maimed children and adult artisanal miners to fend for themselves. The purpose of the lawsuit is to require the companies to stop using child miners and to improve safety, health and compensation for adult miners. The lawsuit specifically demands that the companies pay reparations and fund rehabilitation and education programs for the families of child miners killed or maimed by the horrific conditions currently existing in the mines.
IRAdvocates calls upon all concerned organizations and individuals to contact the companies and demand that they support assistance to the artisanal miners and to improve conditions in the mines,not make matters worse for the desperately poor families in the mining community.
Apple: Submit a question at investor.apple.com/contact/default.aspx (Apple Investor Relations) OR tweet @AppleSupport, @tim_cook (Apple CEO), and @lisapjackson (Apple VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives)
Alphabet (Google): Email email@example.com (Alphabet press) OR tweet @Google, @sundarpichai (Alphabet CEO), and @KateEBrandt (Google Sustainability Officer)
Dell: Email firstname.lastname@example.org OR tweet @DellCares, @MichaelDell (Dell CEO), and @cpfrasercsr (Dell Chief Responsibility Officer)
Microsoft: Email email@example.com (Microsoft Investor Relations) OR tweet @MicrosoftHelps, @satyanadella (Microsoft CEO), and @shelleymckin (Microsoft VP of Technology and Social Responsibility)
Tesla: Submit a question at www.tesla.com/contact/about and ir.tesla.com/corporate-governance/contact-the-board (Tesla Investor Relations) OR tweet @Tesla and @ElonMusk (Tesla CEO)