The authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo will relocate some 10,000 families from a south-eastern town rich in cobalt estimated to be worth billions of dollars, the AFP news agency reports.
DR Congo produces 60% of the world’s supply of cobalt.
The rare mineral is used to produce lithium-ion batteries used to power electric cars, laptops and smartphones.
The news agency quotes a local administrator as saying the relocation plan would cost some $800m (£611m).
“If the state determines that it is in the interest of the entire nation, it can relocate and compensate the inhabitants,” Richard Muyej, governor of Lualaba province, is quoted as saying.
“What is under the ground does not belong to individuals but to the state,” he added.
The announcement comes after tech companies Apple, Google, Tesla and Microsoft were named in a lawsuit over deaths and injuries of child miners in the country.
The case has been filed by the International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 Congolese families.