A visiting Harvard professor and recent slavery activist exposed Congo’s “horrific” cobalt mining industry in a recent episode of the viral “Joe Rogan Experiment.” The video has already racked up over a million views and counting.
There’s no such thing as a “clean cobalt,” Siddharth Kara, author of “Cobalt Red: How The Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives,” told podcast host Joe Rogan.
“It’s all for marketing,” Kara said.
Kara told Rogan that the level of “suffering” of the Congolese working in the cobalt mines was staggering.
When Rogan asked him if there was any cobalt mine in the Congo that didn’t depend on “child labor” or “slavery,” the visiting Harvard professor told him there wasn’t any.
“I’ve never seen one before and I’ve been to almost all of the major industrial cobalt mines” in the country, Kara said.
One reason for this is that demand for cobalt is exceptionally high: “Cobalt is in every rechargeable lithium battery made in the world today,” he explains.
As a result, it’s hard to think of a piece of technology that doesn’t rely on cobalt to function, Kara said. “Every smartphone, every tablet, every laptop, and most importantly every electric car” needs metal.
“We cannot function on a daily basis without cobalt, and three-quarters of the supply comes from the Congo,” he added. “And they are mined in appalling, heartbreaking, and dangerous conditions.”
“But the world is pretty much unaware of what’s going on” in Congo, Kara said.
Rogan agreed, saying, “I don’t think people realize how terrible it is.”
The Biden administration recently entered into an agreement with the DRC and Zambia to strengthen the green energy supply chain, despite documented cases in the DRC over child labor.
Kara explained that cobalt “got off the ground in the beginning because it was used in lithium-ion batteries to increase their charge and stability.” “It just so happens that the Congo sits on more cobalt than the rest of the planet combined,” he added.
As a result, the Congo, with a population of about 90 million, has become the epicenter of the geopolitical struggle over precious metals. Before anyone knew what was going on, [the] Chinese government [and] Chinese mining companies took control of almost all the large mines and the local population was displaced. Thus, the Congolese are “being coerced”.
He continued, “They are digging in absolutely inhuman, painful conditions for $1 a day, feeding cobalt into the supply chain in all phones, all tablets, and especially electric cars.”
British rapper Zooby recommended that his nearly 1 million followers watch the interview.
“The latest Joe Rogan Experience podcast is heavy,” he wrote. “If you have a smartphone or an electric car (that’s 100% on you) I highly recommend listening to it.”
Kara said that some, if not all, of the world’s famous technology and energy companies are involved in the humanitarian crisis.
“This is the bottom of the supply chain for your iPhone, your Tesla, your Samsung,” he affirmed.
Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.
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