The initiative, which is led by international development organisation Pact, aims to protect children from risks faced in uncontrolled artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in the country's Kolwezi region, where ERG's Metalkol roan tailings reclamation project is situated.
The initiative will support miners between the ages of 15 and 17 through a six-month vocational training programme and short-term remuneration aimed at helping them to transition out of ASM mining.
Pact CEO Mark Viso said the involvement of private-sector companies was one of the fastest ways of achieving large-scale change and it was critical for systemic change.
"ERG is making it possible to scale proven interventions that are vital to children's ability to transition out of mining and is helping to provide a network of contiguous support for children across the region," he said
ERG said the year-long programme was part of its "wider commitment to ensure sustainable cobalt production, improve the quality of life for local communities and support multi-stakeholder efforts to achieve a responsible supply chain".
ERG CEO and Global Battery Alliance co-chair Benedikt Sobotka said ASM accounted for approximately 25% of global cobalt supply and demand was increasing as the 'fourth industrial revolution' gathered momentum.
"In servicing this increasing demand, metals suppliers need to ensure that cobalt is produced and sourced sustainably and responsibly," he said
"In this effort and through Children Out of Mining-Northern Kolwezi, we aim to continue to offer our support to local communities in the DRC, a country which is a cornerstone of ERG's cobalt business."