Cobalt mining in the Congo

Interesting expose on Cobalt mining in the Congo from Joe Rogan.

It would be real interesting to hear what all the woke green energy zealots have to say about this.

The talk about conflict minerals gives Rwanda some perspective.

Yea, the exploitation of human labor for cobalt is heavy stuff.

Imagine for a moment if you had scenes like that associated with the production of oil.

The dirty little secret that nobody wants to talk about is all the human suffering and environmental damage that is caused by everything from the raw material procurement, manufacture, and disposal of these batteries.

Seems like a high price to pay for something that ultimately leads to things that allow government and private industry to track, monitor, and record everything you say and everywhere you go.

Another kicker here is that the products using rechargeables are largely designed to be use and throw away. It’s nuts. Not to mention the mining, refinement, and manufacturing involving all the other materials. Take a laptop for example. Not much is standardized in terms of compatibility and repair. So all that exploited labor and mined materials just gets tossed after the period of planned obsolescence or failure (no matter how minor) in order to sell more products faster. And big companies (such as Apple) actually fight against their products being repairable. In other words, they are fighting for more mining, such as those people mining cobalt by hand for a $1 or $2 per day.

That and those large recycling operations in Africa and Asia are pretty horrific as well.

Looks like LFP (lithium iron phosphate) batteries are the future. I guess big biz is riding the cobalt out until obtaining it reaches a threshold or enough noise is made, probably to save a few pennies per unit.

I hadn’t heard of those. I did a little reading and they do seem to address a lot of the fire and other hazards associated with lithium ion.

Hope they work.

What I read on LFP says that it has been in high production for a good minute and at comparable or lower cost, so I suppose it’s just a matter of fully transitioning.

You don’t have to imagine.

I find it rather odd that people can look at cobalt mining and say “imagine if oil production…”

?? Did we all just forget all the terrible stuff that goes along with demand for and production and delivery of oil?

Around 16% of the quarter million workers are children, as young as 6 years old.

Small-scale mining in the DRC involves people of all ages, including children, obligated to work under harsh conditions. Of the 255,000 Congolese mining for cobalt, 40,000 are children, some as young as six years.

Numerous big-tech companies like Apple, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Dell, Microsoft, and Tesla were cited in a lawsuit over deaths and serious injuries sustained among child laborers in DRC cobalt mines.

Cobalt mining operations generate incredibly high carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions and substantial electricity consumption.

…laborers earn less than $2 per day while using their own tools, primarily their hands

[ The DRC Mining Industry: Child Labor and Formalization of Small-Scale Mining | Wilson Center ]

Yep. Copper and diamonds too.

Worth thinking about how much of your day to day life involves copper. It’s everywhere.

It’s odd that you compare a video of an insignificantly small and completely illegal part of oil trade with normalised practices in cobalt and other mining.

There was the case where an inadequately protected coolant pipe on a Tesla battery got damaged from some road debris and Tesla wanted $20k+ to do a full replacement. Instead the guy got an independent workshop to fix the problem (had to make the joints from scratch) for <$1k.

Sometimes when these batteries degrade a lot it’s just a few cells too. They need to be made more repairable.

Cool story bro.

Look at the scale of the damage to the wetlands.

And then think about about all the oil spills everywhere.

Your comment suggests a greater concern for wildlife than for people.

I would be willing to bet the house that more of those miners in the Congo are going to die than people who have died as a result of all the oil spills throughout history.

I made the same observation on the origins of Covid.

Spill some oil on some ducks and politicians and government officials rush to microphones screaming about holding those accountable. But kill millions of people because of a screw up at a lab and you get crickets.

But hey, those people are all the way across the world. That’s how this stuff seems to work.

There’s a guy called Rich Benoit who repairs Teslas, outside the official Tesla channel. Guess what, he’s not getting any help from Tesla when e.g. he tries to order spare parts. Surprise anyone. Rich has a popular youtube channel called “Rich Rebuilds”, check it out.

Tell that to the people who have lost their source of food, and had the water table contaminated.

It’s not just wildlife that have to live in the environment. People have to live in it too.

Life expectancy in the Niger delta has dropped to 10 years lower than the rest of the country.

It was estimated that in 2012 alone 16,000 more babies died in the first month of life than would have without the pollution.