BMW to abandon DR Congo Cobalt for Morocco in fight against child labor
The German carmaker BMW announced Tuesday it will from next year stop sourcing cobalt mineral from DR Congo and will shift to Morocco and Australia where working conditions are acceptable and not linked to child labor.
The German company is planning to start producing electrical cars next year. BMW and other world carmakers are under stress over concerns that cobalt stored in warehouses in London Metal Exchange (the world center for industrial metals trading) may be linked to child labor, Bloomberg reports.
Human rights groups attacked in recent years the mining of the commodity in DR Congo, the world’s largest exporter of the mineral, as they denounced unethical working conditions involving children.
Tuesday, Andreas Wendt Head of the procurement department at BMW told reporters that the German company will cease purchasing Cobalt from DR Congo.
The current situation at non-mechanized Congolese sites, known as artisanal mines, is “simply not compatible with our sustainability standards,” Bloomberg quoted the official as saying.
To substitute the Congolese mine, the German firm will turn to Australia and Morocco where, Andreas Wendt said, the production conditions are “in line with our sustainability standards and there are no issues with working conditions such as child labor.”
Morocco produces the mineral from Bou-Azzer mine, 120 kilometers south of Ouarzazate in the Sahara desert. Ranking 12th largest exporter in the world, Morocco produced 2,081 metric tons of the mineral in 2016, Morocco World News reports.