The Cost of Cobalt | People and Power


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The Cost of Cobalt | People and Power



In the Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), increasing numbers of babies are being born with horrific birth defects. Some of this, scientists say, is due to a huge surge in the global demand for cobalt – a metallic element that is playing a key role in the battle to reduce carbon emissions and slow climate change.

Cobalt is vital for the manufacture of lithium batteries used in electric cars and the DRC has at least 60 percent of the world’s reserves – mostly in and around Katanga.

But according to research published in The Lancet medical journal and elsewhere, cobalt extraction, smelting and other related industrial practices in the region are polluting the environment and contaminating people working in the mines or living close to them. The health consequences are dire – especially for pregnant women and the children they bear.

Filmmakers Robert Flummerfelt and Fiona Lloyd-Davies – with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting-  have been to investigate.

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31 Comments

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  1. Mining industry may have to get its act together and can do a lot more to protect miners in particular and all of us with respect to the environment but it is too cheap to spend the money, investing in protective gear for coal miners and regulating the time spent in the mine, not to mention paying more than a dollar a day. Democratic Republic of the Congo is nothing more than a sham that when it goes so will its brand of democracy.  Doing this would cut into profits of the mining companies and the miners can expect the government of this Democratic Republic will use force given the ministers decline to face the music. Instead of the miners getting the value of the protective gear and us (humanity) the preservation of the environment dirtbag ministers are paid off to live in luxury in exchange for their loyalty to the landowners. France great legacy transported to Africa left the Congo a landowner's wet dream and a people's nightmare.

    Pressure the ministers the same people who shamefully hide from the Public! No not these people, get rid of them. Obviously, they are committing a slow murder of Congolese people.

  2. Large global companies are promoting the climate, but at the same time they are doing the opposite, child labor and poisoning people just to make more money.

  3. Who would've thought the same companies who want to be apart of some "climate accord" agreement are also the same ones using African warlords and slave labor forces of mostly children to mine cobalt needed for the world's smart phones, electric cars and various other types of battery based technology.

    Guess trumps administration did the right thing by disavowed the organization and taking the money back into Americans pockets rather than outsource our wealth to evil warlords and evil allies who abuse the same people for their own monetary gains…..

  4. Here in Europe the authorities are going crazy because of climate change. CO2 is not so serious, but this Cobalt for electric cars is very dangerous for the local people in Congo. It's better to make more facilities for new climate than to want more "climate neutral" energy. Stay safe everyone!

  5. We Africans are gifted by nature but our foolishness is the reason behind the endless misery in our respective countries. We gonna suffer as long as we continue blaming others for our deplorable conditions.

  6. Yes but Angelina Jolie is such a humanitarian with her LV advertisements! She believes in empowering young girls!! With LV bags made by young girls! When will the world wake up and realize the waste like Angelina Jolie and Melinda Gates do NOT care about human rights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I have a proposition. When these scientists publicise the report on the mining affects multinationals will try to refute them and discredit them so that they can continue their operations.

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