📑 The Dark Side of Congo’s Cobalt Rush

Bookmarked The Dark Side of Congo’s Cobalt Rush by Nicolas Niarchos (The New Yorker)

Cell phones and electric cars rely on the mineral, causing a boom in demand, Nicolas Niarchos writes. Locals are hunting for this buried treasure—but are getting almost none of the profit.

Nicolas Niarchos digs into the world of the creusers and starch reality of life living in the midst of a cobalt rush. He talks about the prevalence of cobalt.

Hitzman, who teaches at University College Dublin, explained that the rich deposits of cobalt and copper in the area started life around eight hundred million years ago, on the bed of a shallow ancient sea. Over time, the sedimentary rocks were buried beneath rolling hills, and salty fluid containing metals seeped into the earth, mineralizing the rocks. Today, he said, the mineral deposits are “higgledy-piggledy folded, broken upside down, back-asswards, every imaginable geometry—and predicting the location of the next buried deposit is almost impossible.”

He unpacks the long history of mining in the region, the corruption associated with it and the influence of multi-nationals. It is something that has come to the surface with the importance of the metal in the creation of lithium batteries for things like electric cars and mobile devices.

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