The cars of the future will depend increasingly upon supplies of an obscure metal from a country in the African tropics where there has never been a peaceful transition of power and child labor is still used in parts of the mining industry.
Most major automakers are pledging to build millions of electric vehicles as the world’s governments crack down on climate-damaging emissions from traditional-fuel engines.
As a result, demand is surging for lithium-ion batteries and the materials needed to make them — including cobalt, a relatively rare substance found mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The country formerly known as Zaire — which hosted boxers Muhammad Ali and George Foreman for their 1974 heavyweight title bout dubbed the “Rumble in the Jungle” — supplies 63 percent of the world’s cobalt.
Congo’s market share may jump to 73 percent by 2025 as producers like Glencore Plc expand mines, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd. By 2030, global demand could be 47 times more than it was last year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates.
For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-26/battery-boom-relies-on-one-african-nation-avoiding-chaos-of-past