Cobalt blues: Congolese miners, and China’s role in improving their conditions

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, thousands of residents of this resource-rich central African nation, including children, toil and even fight to extract metals like cobalt – an essential component for making lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric cars.

The southern DRC region of Katanga holds the country’s largest cobalt reserves; thousands of small-scale mining operators, or “artisanal miners”, dig each day for the buried treasure – an extremely risky process,…


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