Cobalt is a metal that is currently in huge demand. Why is it so important? Used for the production of Li-Ion batteries. Few people know how cobalt is mined. About 70% of cobalt is mined in the Central African country, mostly from the southern Katanga area, thought to be one of the most polluted places on earth.
Extremely dangerous cobalt mining
The Democratic Republic of Congo has about 20 trillion pounds of natural resources under it. Why isn’t it one of the richest countries in the world? Because it is mined here under extremely dangerous conditions and at very low prices. Men mine cobalt in airless tunnels and risk their lives for just $ 150 a month. They work for multinational companies or small craft mines. Cobalt mining carries high health risks.
Cobalt mining pollutes water, which is then very toxic. When pregnant women are exposed to these toxins, they often have children with birth defects and deformities.
Unreported World investigates the dirty business of cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can see a detailed report below:
Why can’t the current world do without cobalt?
A significant part of cobalt is used for the production of lithium-ion batteries (Li-Ion), which due to their high specific capacity of approximately 250 Wh / kg in recent years have gradually practically pushed out older types of batteries (NiMH, NiCd) from all portable devices.
Cobalt consumption will continue to grow significantly along with the development of electromobility and the need to produce large quantities of Li-Ion batteries
Global consumption of cobalt by 2010 before the development of Lithium-ion batteries was approximately 50,000 tons. In 2016, the consumption of cobalt was 100,000 tons, of which about half for the production of lithium-ion batteries. A passenger car with a range of 500 km needs approximately 10 kg of Cobalt and 7 kg of lithium for its 300 kg battery. Insufficient cobalt reserves may limit the development of electromobility more in the future than lithium reserves. The world should learn about the conditions under which one of the most important metals that drives the green revolution is mined.
Source & credit: Unreported World, Wikipedia