Glencore statement on child labour allegations

posted: 17/12/2019

Glencore statement on child labour allegations

Baar, Switzerland 17 December 2019


Glencore takes note of the lawsuit filed in a US court by IRAdvocates on 15 December 2019 regarding child labour in the artisanal mining of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We are not a defendant to this lawsuit. 

We offer our condolences and sympathy to the families and the children injured or killed as a result of artisanal mining activities.

We do not tolerate any form of child, forced, or compulsory labour in our supply chain. We support and respect human rights in a manner consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Glencore does not purchase, process or trade any artisanally mined cobalt or copper.  

We recognise that artisanal mining is prevalent in the DRC and presents risks, particularly for children. As part of our broader strategy as a responsible corporate citizen in the country, we are engaging with the government and other stakeholders to find a sustainable solution. In this regard, Kamoto Copper Company, our operation in the DRC, is implementing a number of measures, including:

  • engaging with local communities to highlight the risks associated with illegal artisanal mining, particularly in respect of an active industrial site;
  • strengthening physical barriers to prevent intrusions and address the risk of injury from entering an industrial site; 
  • working with our security providers to ensure they continue to uphold respect for human rights in a manner consistent with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.


In addition, KCC operates a number of programmes to offer alternative livelihoods and help children stay out of artisanal mining. These include:

  • Supporting agricultural co-operatives to help diversify the local economy and support local employment opportunities, including training and business development. During 2018, we supported over 140 agricultural cooperatives with over 4,000 members
  • Educational summer camps in collaboration with local NGOs and churches to help children and their parents understand the risks associated with artisanal mining. During 2018 over 9,000 children participated in a wide range of recreational and educational activities; this included discussions on children’s rights and the risks associated with artisanal mining;
  • Ongoing support for construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of schools in the broader Kolwezi area.


The lawsuit references a number of concessions as locations of injury or fatalities, some of which are erroneously claimed to be controlled and operated by KCC. 

The following concessions are not owned or controlled by KCC:

  • Lac Malo
  • Kamilombe


Mashamba East pit and waste dump are located on the KCC Concession. KCC has engaged with the local community to highlight the risks of illegal mining, and also with the artisanal agency SAEMAPE to discourage illegal mining activity on its concession. We do not purchase, process or trade ore that is produced at or around Mashamba East.

The Tilwezembe concession, which is owned by Glencore and located ca. 35 km away from KCC, has been overrun by artisanal miners since 2011. Since 2011, Glencore has had no access to the concession and does not have any operational or commercial involvement with it.  Glencore has repeatedly requested the DRC government to take action to resolve the situation, and flagged its concerns about labour conditions at the operation.

For further information please contact:

Martin Fewings    
t: +41 41 709 2880    
m: +41 79 737 5642

Maartje Collignon    
t: +41 41 709 3269    
m: +41 79 197 4202

Charles Watenphul    
t: +41 41 709 24 62    
m: +41 79 904 33 20

Glencore LEI: 2138002658CPO9NBH955

Notes for Editors
Glencore is one of the world’s largest global diversified natural resource companies and a major producer and marketer of more than 60 commodities. The Group's operations comprise around 150 mining and metallurgical sites and oil production assets.

With a strong footprint in both established and emerging regions for natural resources, Glencore's industrial and marketing activities are supported by a global network of offices located in over 35 countries.

Glencore's customers are industrial consumers, such as those in the automotive, steel, power generation, battery manufacturing and oil sectors. We also provide financing, logistics and other services to producers and consumers of commodities. Glencore's companies employ around 158,000 people, including contractors.

Glencore is proud to be a member of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and the International Council on Mining and Metals. We are an active participant in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

The companies in which Glencore plc directly and indirectly has an interest are separate and distinct legal entities. In this document, “Glencore”, “Glencore group” and “Group” are used for convenience only where references are made to Glencore plc and its subsidiaries in general. These collective expressions are used for ease of reference only and do not imply any other relationship between the companies.  Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer collectively to members of the Group or to those who work for them. These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies.