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The Sticky Business of Cobalt Mining

By Rob McCammon

Follow me on Twitter @RobMcCammon1

Artisanal Mining in the Congo

Artisanal sounds so great doesn't it. Like a craft fair with someone doing something unexpected with a mason jar. That's my interpretation of the word anyway, but this is also the name we use for miners in the Congo. The Congo is constantly going through th

e worst things society can be put through including ethnic cleansing, Ebola and internal strife. This ties back quickly to cobalt. 70% of the world's supply of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As our desire for Li-Ion batteries has grown, our need for the cobalt that is required to go into them is always gaining. The Congo that is rich in Cobalt has seen the issues that accompany a mineral bull run. This includes children miners in the 'artisanal' mining groups. This also includes small wars and feuds between these groups. Cobalt is only getting more valuable.

Tesla has tried to move away from cobalt to nickel. That has problems too, but not the pitiful state of affairs in Congo.

Before I move away from this though, I will state that this is bringing money into the Congo. I don't mean that this is good for the people there, but letting them not have any resource is not better either.

No matter how you slice it, the US needs cobalt and a domestic source is advantageous. One domestic source does exist, First Cobalt. As a matter of fact they are building a mineral refining center.


I will need to write out more on them. Thing is, they don't produce as much as the Congo.

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