Globally, more than one million children are working in the gold mining industry, according to new estimates.
The gold mined is used by electronics manufacturers who use it to make mobile phones, computers and other consumer electronics. The electronics industry annually uses 279000 kg of gold worth more than 10 billion euros. This makes the sector the third largest consumer of gold in the world, aftr the newellery industry and the financial sector.
According to the report, from the SOMO report, ‘Gold from children’s hands’, commissioned by the Stop Child Labour coalition, the problem is getting worse. In the African country of Mali for example, the number of children working in the gold mining industry has increased almost tenfold in recent years from 20,000 to 200,000 children.
The coaltion accepts that electronics manufacturers do not accept child labour but argue they do little to take effective measures to eliminate it from their supply chains.
“It is time for these companies to deal with child labour in their entire supply chain and to look beyond conflict minerals,” said Sofie Ovaa, programme manager of Stop Child Labour.
She urges consumers to get involved this holiday season by signing its online petition.