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UNICEF: Over 360,000 children work in artisanal mines in DRC

Kinshasa, Jun 14 (Prensa Latina) More than 360,000 children work nowadays in artisanal mines in the provinces of Lualaba and Haut-Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) announced.

UNICEF’s representative in the DRC, Grant Leaty, said these minors are subjected to dangerous work, and they constitute a significant segment of the production of the mineral supply chain, particularly cobalt, making their efforts “worth billions”.

Speaking to Radio Okapi on the sidelines of the second day of the 19th DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi, Haut-Katanga province, Leaty called on all parties in the mining sector to curb the presence of child labor.

He said that the World Bank and the African Development Bank have a program to remove children from artisanal mines and that all together, including the ministries of Mines and Labor, can cooperate to achieve this goal.

Leaty pointed out that Unicef has removed 70,000 children from mining operations in the provinces of Lualaba and Haut-Katanga in the space of two years, however, the issue needs to be addressed with both the formal and informal sectors.

“It is very important that we work with the private sector on how to guarantee that the supply chain is free. We all want to increase wealth, but we don’t want children dying in the mines,” he remarked.

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