Blood Batteries – Cobalt And The Congo – by James Conca (Forbes Magazine – September 26, 2018)

Vivienne Walt and Sebastian Meyer wrote a piercing analysis in Fortune on the conditions surrounding Co supply from the world’s largest supplier of the metal, the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.

The reason this is so important is that many of the people who support the new energy technological revolution of non-fossil fuels, renewables and new nuclear SMRs, electric vehicles, conservation and efficiency, also care about the social issues that many of these technologies incorporate in their wake – corruption, environmental pollution, extreme poverty and child labor.

And the supply of Co is the perfect intersection of these two issues. With support from the Pulitzer Center, Walt and Meyer focused on the lives of the poor laborers in this former Belgian colony, especially children, and how their exploitation is making our lives easier.

Especially one child named Lukasa who gets up at 5 AM to work a 12-hour day for less than $9, hacking at ore by hand and carrying it on his back to a trading post an hour trek from the mine, before starting his two-hour walk back home.

It is essential that Walt’s work, and others like her, be reported throughout the developed world. The tech revolution is supposed to make all of our lives better, not just the lucky few.

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