Children Working in Gold Mines in the DR Congo
Observers France24 reported that according to NGO Justice pour tous, which fights against child labour in South Kivu’s mines in Democratic Republic of Congo,
Observers France24 reported that according to NGO Justice pour tous, which fights against child labour in South Kivu’s mines in Democratic Republic of Congo, the local population continue to carry out small scale artisanal mining on part of the mine site before Canadian multinational Banro Corporation arrived. In order to keep the peace, Banro Corporation allows local miners to have access to the deposit. With buckets and shovels in their hands, children, some of whom are not yet 10 years old, wash the muddy contents pulled up from mines in an attempt to extract gold. They don’t have any real equipment or forms of protection.
Some children work in the mines every day, working several hours at a time. Some actually go down into shafts that are several hundred metres deep and tunnels to dig for gold without any safety measures. It’s incredibly dangerous. There are often cave-ins.
Others are exposed to toxic substances like mercury, which is used to clean the ore. They also have to carry heavy loads. Most of these children are school-age, but they don’t go to school even though the president, Felix Tshisekedi, declared that primary education should be free for all children.
South Kivu is brimming with gold deposits, most of which are controlled by the Kivu Mining Society SOMINKI and the Canadian company Banro Corporation through four branches, including Kamituga Mining, which has the principal mining concession in the town. However, Banro Corporation’s activities in the province have been suspended since September 2019 because of the presence of rebel militias.