President Biden has become widely known for making some boneheaded decisions. Now he is publicly endorsing child labor camps for mining while denying American adults the right to earn a fair wage doing the same job.
On January 26th, Biden announced the ending of a program to mine 200,000 acres of land that would have been mined to protect the waterway. Effectively, this plan not only destroys a major Minnesota mining project, but it takes thousands of good-paying and hardworking American jobs off the table.
A week prior he had signed a memorandum of understanding with Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo per a State Department release. Both well known for their rare metal mines and the child labor force that works in the trenches, his goal is to strengthen the market and production for electric vehicle batteries. This move underscores his policy to replace electric vehicles for the gas ones we have relied on for decades.
Currently, the DRC is responsible for 70% of the global production of cobalt, with Zambia unearthing enough copper to make the sixth-most in the world according to the release. These materials are major components in electric car batteries. This is exactly why “Through this MOU, the United States will support the commitment between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia to develop jointly a supply chain for electric vehicle batteries.”
Yet, the Department of Labor seems to have gone unconsented before such an agreement was reached. According to them in Congo “Thousands of children also work in cobalt and copper mines in the southern Copperbelt region. Prevalence of child labor is highest in the country’s artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector, which operates with minimal oversight. Child labor has been detected at one in four ASM sites, with informal or illegal ASM operations leaving children uniquely exposed to hazardous working conditions and, in some instances, to forced labor.”
While underreported, the DOL estimates 3,000 to 35,000 kids are currently working in “artisanal” cobalt mines. Perhaps that’s why the left is content to work with this. They hear the word “artisanal” and they are immediately flooded with memories of small farms, and coffee shops with fair trade beans, and they suddenly believe it’s better than the “dirty” alternative of mining elsewhere.
Zambia, as it turns, out is no better.
“Illegal mining syndicates, called jerabo gangs, in the Copperbelt province employ children for mining activities, including forcing children to load trucks with stolen copper ore. Commercial sexual exploitation of children is common, particularly along Zambia’s borders and transit corridors,” per the DOL.
No estimates on child labor in Zambia have been issued, the sex trade there is massive as it is across the globe. With many making but a quick stop before being moved on, they face tremendous abuse from a very young age, and there is no hope for a good future there. The copper mines certainly have their fair share of the child labor force as well, and somehow because of the sex trade, the kids being forced into the mine are the “lucky” ones.
Despite this huge failure, the Department of the Interior (DOI) was even worse. Signing Public Land Order 7917, 225,504 acres of land in MN was completely blocked for mining. This halts the mining of a massive area for nickel and copper. Effectively, thousands of hard-working adults are out of a job, with thousands more taken away from being created in the future. Destroying these kinds of jobs destroys the best examples of trickle-down economics ever shown in American history.
Biden’s push for child labor while destroying American jobs is nothing new, but to see it this blatantly done is just maddening. We need to be putting America first, and hopefully, in 2024 we can get back to doing just that.