Many people driving around in EVs don’t realize cobalt is a vital part of lithium-ion batteries. Cobalt allows for the range, and durability consumers expect and need. For these reasons, cobalt may be one of the most sought-after metals on the planet today. Unlike lithium and other green metals such as copper and nickel, which are abundant in numerous countries, more than 70% of all cobalt production comes from one country: the DRC — Democratic Republic of Congo. But, sadly, there are tens of thousands of child miners in the DRC mining cobalt today.
Child Miners Risk it All in the DRC
Cobalt mining in areas of the Congo has come under heavy scrutiny of late. According to the European Parliament, “it is estimated, according to reports by UN agencies, that in the southern Katanga province, more than 40 000 children are working in hazardous conditions in cobalt mines, with inadequate safety equipment and for very little money…”
Until significant cobalt discoveries are made elsewhere, the immediate source for the majority of the world’s cobalt remains in the DRC.