Gold, child labour and electronics

There are more than 1 million children working in goldmines around the world. Some of this gold ends up in our mobile telephones. This is the conclusion of the study conducted by SOMO Centre for Research in recent months, which was commissioned by Stop Child Labour.

Every year, the electronics industry uses 279,000 kilogrammes of gold with a value of more than 10 billion euros. Making it the third largest buyer of gold after the jewellery industry and the financial sector. Even though nearly all electronics companies state that they do not accept child labour, they are almost doing nothing to actively eradicate child labour in goldmines.

Stop Child Labour is now asking the electronics industry to take action against child labour. “It is about time that companies start looking beyond their first suppliers and that they start eradicating child labour from their entire production chain.’ according to Sofie Ovaa, Programme Manager of Stop Child Labour.

In more than twenty countries where gold mining takes place, child labour is a major issue. Particularly in small-scale, often informal mining child labour occurs. The gold ends up on the world market mainly via Switzerland, which is responsible for processing approximately 70% of gold that has been dug up in the world, and Dubai. After that it is used in products such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

>> Sign our petition

>> Download the report ‘Gold from children’s hands’ (SOMO, Nov 2015)

>> Download the summary of the report

>> Download our letter to the electronics companies

>> Download the Parliamentary Q&A (Dec 2015)