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Corruption in the cobalt industry in Congo

FT 26th July 2017, Behind every clean electric car there is cobalt. And behind cobalt is the
Democratic Republic of Congo.

Cobalt is a critical element in lithium-ion
batteries used in electric cars. Such batteries already consume 42 per cent
of the metal and demand will soar as the world switches from petrol and
diesel cars to electric ones. This week, Britain followed France in declaring a ban on such vehicles from 2040. Soon, almost anyone in the rich world will be able to drive safe in the knowledge that they’re being kinder
and gentler to the planet.

Did I mention the Democratic Republic of Congo?
Some 60 per cent of the world’s cobalt comes from this central African
country, one the size of western Europe and with gargantuan problems to
match. Some industry analysts are predicting a 30-fold increase in cobalt
demand by 2030, much of which will come from Congo. Cobalt prices doubled
in the past year alone.

You might imagine the average Congolese would be
thrilled by the prospect of the coming bonanza. But if history is any
guide, the average Congolese will gain little – save perhaps from militia
violence and perhaps a dangerous, poorly paid job. In Congo, they say, you
can find every element in the periodic table. But this abundance has not
done its people much good. A recent report by Global Witness found that 30
per cent of revenue paid to state bodies by mining companies from 2013 to
2015 – about $750m – simply vanished.


July 28, 2017 - Posted by | AFRICA, secrets,lies and civil liberties

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