The DR Congo and Cobalt

It seems that the Washington Post has found out about Cobalt:

The world’s soaring demand for cobalt is at times met by workers, including children, who labor in harsh and dangerous conditions. An estimated 100,000 cobalt miners in Congo use hand tools to dig hundreds of feet underground with little oversight and few safety measures, according to workers, government officials and evidence found by The Washington Post during visits to remote mines. Deaths and injuries are common. And the mining activity exposes local communities to levels of toxic metals that appear to be linked to ailments that include breathing problems and birth defects, health officials say.

The Post traced this cobalt pipeline and, for the first time, showed how cobalt mined in these harsh conditions ends up in popular consumer products. It moves from small-scale Congolese mines to a single Chinese company — Congo DongFang International Mining, part of one of the world’s biggest cobalt producers, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt — that for years has supplied some of the world’s largest battery makers. They, in turn, have produced the batteries found inside products such as Apple’s iPhones — a finding that calls into question corporate assertions that they are capable of monitoring their supply chains for human rights abuses or child labor.

I first read it as Coltan, since this story is almost exactly the same as one I posted about back in 2008. I guess history does repeat but with minor variations. It seems the DR Congo isn’t in much better shape than it was back then.

Oh, and here’s Senator Clinton from back then:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Congo on Monday to push the Congolese government and the United Nations to end the longstanding bloodshed here, taking special aim at the illicit mineral trade that helps fuel the conflict.

“I am particularly concerned about the exploitation of natural resources,” she said, referring to Congo’s vast reserves of diamonds, gold, copper, tin and other minerals.

She said that illegal mining was one of the root causes of Congo’s violence and that armed groups were sustaining themselves off the mineral riches. “There is a lot of money being made in eastern Congo,” Mrs. Clinton said.

I wonder if Donald Trump has even heard of the DR Congo?

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