Democratic Republic of the Congo: Conflict - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:18 am on 8th December 2022.

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Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 11:18 am, 8th December 2022

As ever, the noble Lord points to a really core issue. With the DRC providing around 70% of the global supply of cobalt, we have a particular interest in addressing urgently this issue of child forced and bonded labour in cobalt supply chains. That is reflected in the work we do through ODA; however, I acknowledge to the noble Lord that there is much more we could be doing, not least through the City of London, given the fact that so many large mining players are based in this country. It is certainly my intention to try to create a more co-operative approach with some of those mining companies to see what more we can do to tackle child labour, but also the very widespread environmental contamination. To give one example, there is a village in Peru where every single inhabitant was registered as having near-lethal doses of mercury as a consequence of illegal gold mining, so this is a major problem and one that we absolutely acknowledge.