Stop Unethical Cobalt Mining

Conservative MLA for Nechako Lakes John Rustad is asking BC's NDP Government to stand against child labour and inhumane cobalt mining practices by ending subsidies and special privileges for electric vehicles and e-bikes (all of which require large amounts of cobalt for their batteries), including allowing electric vehicles to use HOV lanes.

"There are thousands of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who are working like slaves, digging with their bare hands to mine cobalt being used in our electric vehicles. We should not be using BC taxpayers' money to financially reward companies that cannot trace their supply chains to safeguard against child labour.

The compassionate thing to do is for BC to take a stand and immediately stop subsidizing electric vehicles — all of which contain large amounts of cobalt," says Rustad. "We're giving BC taxpayers' money to foreign corporations permitting unethical practices abroad. This is just plain wrong. We have new information and we need to adjust policy," Rustad continues.

Around 70% of the global supply of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Recent reporting, including the best-selling book "Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives" by Siddharth Kara, has shown that the supply chain for cobalt is currently untraceable and fraught with child labour, modern slavery and exploitation.

"British Columbia's taxpayers shouldn't be subsidizing products derived from unethical, exploitative open pit mining. Moreover, we need to stop incentivizing British Columbians to buy more electric cars by allowing these vehicles to have unfair, special privileges to use HOV lanes. We need to use common sense," says Rustad.

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