Children in the Philippines are damaging their health while mining for gold

399px-thumbnailThere are currently 115 million children with ages from five to 17 years old who work in hazardous occupations worldwide, the United Nations International Labor Organization estimates. Among them, about a million children work in the mining industry. Hundreds of maybe even thousands of them live in the Philippines.

Recently, the Center for Investigative Reporting, in collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, published an article about this scourge through the site The piece started by telling the story of a young miner:

Romnick Bocejo picked up his blowtorch and blasted a small lump of mercury and gold. A cloud of toxic fumes rose around his head as the heat vaporized the mercury. He covered his mouth and nose with his T-shirt, and kept working.

At 16, Bocejo has worked half his life in the meager family business: looking for gold in the remote mining region of Camarines Norte, about 200 miles southeast of Manila.

One of his jobs is to burn the mercury, and on this occasion, he produced a button-size lump of nearly pure gold. He is uncertain whether to believe the smoke is dangerous.

….Read more

Democratic Republic of Congo: one of the capitals of child labor in the mines


The rates of child labor in Africa are simply scary. However, when you combine the factors “Democratic Republic of Congo” (DRC) and “mines”, you get even scarier numbers. Apparently, the International Day Against Child Labor (June 12) is not celebrated in the Congolese ore pits, like any other day. Every minute spent in the mines is dedicated to work, even if you are a kid.

This is not a new situation, not even remotely. But the fact that almost 800,000 mine workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo are children cannot ever be forgotten. It’s 40 percent of the total of two million workers that scavenge the local mines daily without any kind of protection.

Taking this issue into consideration, Roger-Claude Liwanga recently wrote an opinion article for CNN. The human rights lawyer from the Congo and visiting scholar at Boston University told the story of Lukoji, a fictitious name for a seven-year- old boy that works in the mine washing site of Dilala, near Kolwezi city.

The child, who washes materials like heterogenite (an ore rich in cobalt and copper), began working in the mines when he was five to ….Read more

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