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Aman Purewal started this petition to Mary Ng (Canada's Trade Minister) and

Help penalize companies from supporting child labor mines 

Did you know that you may be inadvertently contributing to the child labour crisis in cobalt mining by simply owning a smartphone?

Cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo has been in high demand from the world’s largest tech companies. However, the undercover human rights violations and child labor have gone unnoticed.  

What is the issue?

Cobalt is a material used in lithium-ion batteries, including the ones found in electric vehicles like Tesla and smartphones like the iPhone. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) contains more than 71% of all cobalt found in the world. Many of these mines are owned by foreign companies. 

These foreign companies have employed over 40,000 children in the mines, and 50% of these children stated they lacked basic safety equipment (Washington Post). The children in the mines are paid roughly six cents (USD) per day by completing their task of digging and filtering through the earth to find cobalt. 

An estimated 220 000 Congolese people work in the cobalt mines throughout the nation (Council on Foreign Relations). Throughout history companies have made changes to their products due to concerns and regulations regarding child labor and working conditions, so why is this issue not treated the same. By signing this petition, you are acknowledging this crisis and the millions affected.

What’s our goal?

Our goal is to achieve 5000 signatures on this petition so that we have enough support to obtain a meeting with Canada’s Trade and Environment Ministers to discuss possible taxes for companies who use cobalt in their products. 

Canada ranks sixth among the world’s largest cobalt reserves, which total 220,000 tonnes – or a 3% share of the global total (NS Energy). If we impose a tax or fee for companies who use cobalt products from the DRC, we believe these companies will begin sourcing the material from other mines/locations, such as Canadian or American mines. 

If Canada’s cobalt is used and mined, we can ensure ethical/fair trade mining, which will add more jobs for Canadians in the mining industry. This “tax” for these companies is an effort to encourage the use of Canadian cobalt by making cobalt from the DRC more costly (as low cost is the main reason for using Congolese cobalt). 

Companies manufacturing electric vehicles such as Tesla, Toyota, Subaru, and more, which are made in Canada, will be subject to the tax. The average electric vehicle battery contains about 14 kg of cobalt. Per kilogram of cobalt used in their products, our tax contains a 10$ fee. Last year in Canada 47 000 electric vehicles were sold, meaning 658 000 kg of cobalt were used in the batteries. With a 10$ fee per kilogram of cobalt sold across Canada in EV batteries, a total of 6.58 million dollars would be taxed for those companies per year. These efforts are put in place to encourage these companies to use local Canadian cobalt with worker standards and fair pay for their workers. Hopefully these companies will attempt to switch over to domestic production and extraction of the resource, ensuring peace, standards and ethics in their products.


How else can you help?

Beyond signing this petition, please consider donating to the organization Global Giving. Global Giving runs a care facility called Maison Kimbilio. Kimbilio is committed to offering children who have become separated from their families a place of safety where they can learn, cook and thrive as human beings. 

This organization supports over 400 street children each month, helping them to build a future with hope. Children through the outreach program are also offered holistic care, as well as a safe place to sleep, food, clothes, access to health care and education. Furthermore, if possible, they try to reunite children with their families, using a safe, sustainable approach.  Overall, your donation to this organization will result in a positive outcome for the province and its youth in the present and future. 

Once again the link for the donation is:

Thanks for your time, and I hope you were able to learn a bit about this issue.


                                                           Works Cited

“Combatting the Cobalt Crisis.” GlobalGiving,

“Profiling the World's Largest Cobalt-Producing Countries.” NS Energy, 22 Feb. 2021,,potential for further mining activity.

“This Is Where Your Smartphone Battery Begins.” The Washington Post, WP Company,

“Why Cobalt Mining in the DRC Needs Urgent Attention.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations,

1,067 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!