It's back-breaking work, and these boys are only 12 years old. Using a pick to break up the rocks, they are mining for colbalt, the mineral used in manufacturing smartphones, cars and computers. While the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the least developed countries in the world, it's minerally rich, supplyi ng more than half the world's colbalt.Men, women and children all work in the artisanal mining industry...SOUNDBITE 1 - David, miner (man, swahili, x sec):"We are working informally, we've just come to find something to eat… SOUNDBITE 2 - Chantal, miner's wife (woman, swahili, 10 sec):"I came here to help my husband. There isn't any other work apart from this. The work is hard, he can't do it alone."Amnesty International has revealed that minerals mined by children working in life-threatening conditions without basic safety equipmentare being sold to big brands including Apple, Samsung and Sony. The organisation interviewed 90 adults and children working in five artisanal cobalt mine sites. SOUNDBITE 3 - Mark Dummit, senior researcher, Amnesty International (man, English, 21 sec)"The government of the DRC needs to take urgent steps to make sure that all children are removed from these illegal and unauthorized mining areas. They need to make sure these children have a different kind of future, that they can go to school rather than do this work which exposes them to terrible harm and means they're not having a proper education."Amnesty is now calling on multinational companies to conduct investigations of their supply chains for lithium-ion batteries, to check for child labour.


Cobalt mined dangerously by children in the Democratic Republic of Congo could end up in the lithium batteries of smartphones and electric cars made by Apple, Samsung or Sony, Amnesty International said Tuesday.