Bill Introduced to Stop Reliance of Forced Labor in Rare Earth Mines

Bill Introduced to Stop Reliance of Forced Labor in Rare Earth Mines

July 13, 2023

Last week Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced new legislation that would cut all U.S. affiliations with child-labor-run mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This movement comes soon after President Biden’s attempt to deter U.S. manufacturers from domestic mines and towards the DRC and Zambia’s resources instead.  

The grim reality behind the growing electric vehicle (EV) trend is that the production of these vehicles largely depends on child-labor practices. Powered by lithium-ion batteries, EVs require rare raw minerals exclusive to mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Under the control of China’s government, these mining sites are predominately operated by child workers and victims of labor trafficking. So, while the eco-left continues to push Biden’s green agenda forward, these human rights abuses remain ignored. 

The Daily Caller reported on Rep. Smith’s frustrations,

“The United States must stop aiding and abetting Communist China’s egregious exploitation of children—some as young as 6 years old—and start becoming less dependent on Xi Jinping’s brutal dictatorship… The Chinese Communist Party’s quest for cobalt for batteries and lithium for solar panels to power the so-called Green Economy motivates human rapacity.’”

As the United States’ reliance on China’s monopoly continues to come to light, economic and security concerns are growing. This legislation seeks to address these concerns by steering the U.S. away from dependence on Chinese resources while the Biden Administration continues to ignore the issue entirely. 

“Despite the Biden administration’s consistent promotion of EVs to mitigate emissions and simultaneously spur a domestic green manufacturing boom, the administration has cut deals with the DRC and other child labor hotbeds to source rare earth minerals after clamping down on domestic mining projects.”

As we know, electric vehicles are unreliable and expensive. The United States also must rely on foreign countries to make the vehicles as the current administration insists on hindering attempts to increase mining and processing here at home.  This dependence threatens our economy and national security. The Future’s study “The Fight For Rare Earths” explores the position the Biden administration has put us in, what needs to be done, and the hypocrisy of the green extremists who refuse to acknowledge that they can’t have it both ways.