Cobalt: The Dark Side of Electric Vehicles

Iowa Climate Science Education

An estimated 35,000 children work in perilous conditions to extract cobalt from the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So what will the impact be on these exploited workers from rapid advances in electric cars, which are heavily reliant on this conflict mineral?

Yanick Kalumbu Tshiwengu, a former child miner from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is lucky to be alive. When he was just 11 years old, Yanick went to Kolwezi to mine cobalt. Every day he descended several metres underground into makeshift tunnels and perilous shafts dug out by the miners, never knowing if he would see daylight and his family again.

How can manufacturers be sure that the cobalt which finds its way into their cars is not tainted with the blood of child miners

With no protective clothing, accidents were common. Several of his friends died underground. Yanick narrowly escaped with his life on two occasions, once…

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