The Washington Post reports that the quest for cobalt, a vital component for electric vehicle batteries, involves a complex tapestry of opportunity and exploitation. Despite international reforms aimed at improving mining conditions, workers like Alain Kasongo grapple with severe health challenges, a testament to the harsh mining environment.
While Congo dominates the global cobalt production, accounting for three-quarters of the supply, its mining landscape is marred by issues from child labor in small-scale mines to hazardous conditions in industrial operations. As the electric vehicle market booms, the global appetite for Congo’s cobalt has surged. Yet, beneath the promise of cleaner transportation lies a hidden toll on workers and local communities, with the extracted ore often disappearing into the vast supply chains stretching to China and beyond.