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Volkswagen engages in improving working conditions in artisanal cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The pilot project intends to strengthen legal compliance and improve health and safety conditions as well as social well-being in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 70 percent of the world’s cobalt resources are located. The first trainings for mine operators and miners have just begun. The project is being implemented by GIZ and financed by BASF, BMW Group, Google, Samsung Electronics, Samsung SDI and Volkswagen

“For our e-mobility strategy, sustainable and responsible sourcing of raw materials is of the utmost importance. Cobalt plays a vital role for us, despite a decreasing amount of the raw material in newer generations of batteries for electric vehicles. We would like to extend our sustainable raw material strategy with this initiative. We are seeking to establish artisanal mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a strictly sustainable cobalt source, because the existence of many local communities depends on this sector. We want to deliver impact on the ground – in close cooperation with strong partners”, said Ullrich Gereke, Head of Procurement Strategy at the Volkswagen Group. Currently, Volkswagen does not accept cobalt from artisanal mines.

The pilot project in the Congolese cobalt belt has two focus areas: improving artisanal cobalt mining conditions as well as the living conditions for people in the surrounding communities.

Training curricula on more sustainable working conditions are currently being prepared, initially for 1,500 miners from 12 artisanal cobalt mining cooperatives in and around Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The objective is to test at a legally-operated site under what conditions responsible artisanal mining could be viable.

Original article

Nov 26, 2020 at 03:17

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