Green Killers: Congo’s Miners Dying to Feed World’s Hunger for Electric Cars

Iowa Climate Science Education

Exploited by Chinese firms, workers as young as nine risk their lives to feed the world’s growing hunger for cobalt. 

electric cars Congo
Patrick, a 26-year-old Congolese miner, uses hand tools to dig for cobalt

Solange Kanena sits on her broken orange sofa, heavily pregnant, resting. Looking around her three-room shack, she wonders how she will feed her eight children. Her husband died in a mining accident 10 days ago.

She has never held an iPhone and has no idea what an electric car is. But when the deep, muddy tunnel collapsed on her husband, he was digging for a commodity that is critical to the batteries of both: cobalt.

Last year about 70% of the world’s supply came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the poorest, most violent and corrupt places on Earth. Much of its cobalt comes from around this town.

“Without DR Congo there is no electric car…

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