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Le salon MakeUp in Paris
Monday, February 5, 2018Congresses

Towards responsible mica

© CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

Mica is a precious ingredient for the cosmetics industry, in particular the makeup segment. But this mineral pigment is often extracted under rather unethical conditions, and using child labour, especially in India. The Responsible Mica Initiative is meant to radically change this situation. Executive Director Fanny Frémont presented its actions at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit held in Paris in late 2017.

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Mica is a unique mineral ingredient endowed with very specific chemical, physical, and electric properties. It is used in cosmetics, in particular as a pearly pigment, but it also offers many applications in the paint & coating, plastic, car, electronics, building, or energy industries.
It is a key raw material in many sectors: it is contained in many consumer goods and the demand should strongly increase in the years to come.

The Indian parallel circuit

This mineral can be extracted from quarries in the United States, Madagascar, and Asia, but 25% of the total quantity of mica sold around the world comes from India, in particular two States: Bihar and Jharkhand.
According to official registers, the Indian production of mica reaches 20,000 tonnes per year, but every year, the country exports 128,000 tonnes of it. ‘The vast majority of Indian mica is not extracted as part of official channels,’ explained Fanny Frémont, ‘and there are no collection and transport controls. As a result, you can see whole families with children – sometimes very young – collect mica almost with their own hands in open quarries, without any protection system, whether physical or social – let alone any revenue protection.’

The …

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