START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
Jun 14, 2006
Focus: Human Rights
Action Request: Read
Location: United States
CONGO: Congo's Child Miner Shame
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=13710


At eight years of age, Decu has never owned a football, or played a video game. He has no computer, and no TV. He's never been to school, though he passes young pupils in uniform every morning, as he sets off for work. He is a child, born into poverty in what could be one of the richest places in Africa - the Eastern province of Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are vast mineral deposits beneath the soil here, but this treasure trove has always benefited the leaders not the people. Decu's day begins at dawn. Usually he does not eat, just drinks a little water. Then he sets off on a two-hour walk with his twin, Kaba. Both have torn sweatshirts and trousers with holes. By their side is Cedric, their friend and neighbour, who is 15. He's a quiet boy with an earnest look. He has no shoes, just flip flops on his feet. Cedric used to go to school, but now his family can't afford to send him. Informal By seven or eight each morning, the boys arrive at Ruashi mines, where huge mounds of red, brown and grey soil scar the landscape. They join the ranks of child miners - close to 800 of them, working alongside fully grown men. It's all unofficial, but it's also highly organised. We stand at the top of one enormous mound of silky soil, looking down into a crater about 40 metres deep. All the way down there are ghostly-looking figures digging for copper, coated in choking grey dust. There are no safety standards. No-one wears a hard hat. In the midst of all this, there are some boys as young as Decu and Kaba, working with bare hands and bare feet. Many of the local middlemen prefer to use younger children, because the older boys get paid more. The children here can be as young as five or six. "We saw boys standing waist deep in toxic water, washing soil away from nuggets of copper. One, Antoine, told us he was ten. Inherited For Cedric and the twins, the first job of the day was sifting away soil from mineral deposits. It was heavy work, especially for Decu. As he worked, he told me he wanted to be like children in Europe. "They go to school," he said. "I saw them on TV. But my father can't afford to pay my school fees. That's why my life is so hard." As the day wore one the twins dug for nuggets of copper with their bare hands, but didn't find much. A local buyer gave them a few grubby notes, enough for one small pastry each. Cedric moved on to cleaning cobalt with his bare feet, in a lake of toxic water. Between the three of them that day, the boys did not make enough to buy an evening meal. The new owners of this mine, Metorex Limited from South Africa, would not give us an interview on camera. They inherited the informal miners when they bought the mine. The company says it's a difficult situation because so many local people depend on the mine. A manager at the site told us that they do not condone child labour and, in time, they want all the informal miners out, including the children. The irony is that without what they can scrabble together at the mine, life for Cedric and the twins might be a lot worse.
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , ,
Posted: Jun 14, 2006 11:28am

 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

Author

pElAgUS hellot
, 1
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Shares by Type:
All (1001) | Blog (255) | Alert (445) | Poll (4) | Recipe (12) | Photo (11) | Tribute (59) | Message (215)

Showing shares tagged with: miner [show all]
SHARES FROM PELAGUS'S NETWORK
Feb
16
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\n\\r\\n“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”\\r\\n\\r\\ n \\r\\n\\r\\nSpence r Johnson\\r\\n\\r\\n  \\r\\n\\r\\nMany years ago, when I was in high school chemistry lab, I was assigned to do a litm...
Feb
15
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Feb
13
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
Jan
29
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nI have recently posted some BlogSpot radio interviews and YouTube videos, publicizing my two new books,\\r\\n1) Deepening Your Personal Relationships: Developing Emotional Intimacy and Good Communication.\\r\\n2) Psychological Healing Through Creative S...
Jan
24
by Ys A.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nCoretta Scott King: “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the ...
Jan
23
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nWe declare that no man nor nation nor race have a greater right than others to enjoy the fruits of their work, as the ecological sphere is our common condition of life http://www.beat s4change.org/aims.htm Nous déclarons qu\\\'auc...
Jan
18
by Ys A.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nauthor: Ralph Nader\\r\\n\\r\\nAn epidemic of sky-rocketing medical costs has afflicted our country and grown to obscene proportions. Medical bills are bloated with waste, redundancy, profiteering, fraud and outrageous over-billing. Much is wrong with t...
Jan
13
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nDear Friends:\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\ n\\r\\nMy two current books have been published and are available for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the publisher’s website, http://sbprabooks.com/Max Hammer. Reading these books can be very helpful for anyone...
by Fred H.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nA stainless steel tank the size of a basketball court lies buried in the sandy soil of southeastern Washington state, an aging remnant of U.S. efforts to win World War II. The tank holds enough radioactive waste to fill an Olympic-sized swimming poo...
by Fred H.
(0 comments  |  0 discussions )
\\r\\nThe Olympic Peninsula is home to important state-owne d forests and many of our state’s most iconic creatures. To keep these forest ecosystems healthy, WEC and our partners at Conservation Northwe st and Olympic Forest Coal...