Mean and Unclean: Electric Cars Powered by Child Labor in Africa

Reposted from

The makers of wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles and other supposedly environment-friendly technologies — as well as the green activists, politicians and bureaucrats who promote and support them with our tax dollars — continually claim that these technologies are ‘green,’ ‘clean’ and ’just.’ Is that true? In this premier edition of our new series “Mean and Unclean,” explores the African child labor cruelly exploited to make electric cars go.

Here are some salient background points.

  • Cobalt is an expensive metal used in electric car batteries, costing about $35,000 per ton.
  • 59% of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Cobalt mining in the Congo is often done by children — as many as 40,000 — working in brutal and unsafe conditions. A euphemism for these children is ‘informal’ workers.

What follows is the harsh reality of children laboring for cobalt used to power electric vehicles.

“Yanick Kalumbu Tshiwengu, a former child miner from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is lucky to be alive. When he was just 11 years old, Yanick went to Kolwezi to mine cobalt. Every day he descended several metres underground into makeshift tunnels and perilous shafts dug out by the miners, never knowing if he would see daylight and his family again.

With no protective clothing, accidents were common. Several of his friends died underground. Yanick narrowly escaped with his life on two occasions, once when an excavator began closing the entrances to the pit shaft, blocking his escape route, and when a landslide caused a collapse. Like many of his friends, he began sniffing glue and gasoline to banish his fears, but this could not block out the painful memories that continue to haunt him.

“It was a living hell,” he says. “As children we were exploited and worked in very dangerous situations. We saw things that no child should see. There was a culture of rape and violence. Girls often fell victim to rape, which as children we were powerless to prevent. Sometimes lives were lost for a few francs. No good can ever come from the mines and I’d like to see them all closed so no child has the same experience as me.”

“A CBS News investigation has found child labor being used in the dangerous mining of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mineral cobalt is used in virtually all batteries in common devices, including cellphones, laptops and even electric vehicles.

A report by Amnesty International first revealed that cobalt mined by children was ending up in products from several companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Tesla and Samsung.

There’s such sensitivity around cobalt mining in the DRC that every few hundred feet the CBS News team was stopped, with security personnel requesting letters and documentation, even though we had official permission to be there. But for the Chinese middlemen who buy the cobalt, there were no such constraints; they have free access.

In the mines, women and children help with the so-called artisanal mining, but don’t be fooled — it is no quaint cottage industry. At barely 10 years old, children lug heavy sacks of cobalt to be washed in rivers. From as early as four, they can pick it out of a pile. Even those too young to work — dust-covered infants clinging to their mothers and playing on the dirty ground — spend much of the day breathing in toxic fumes.

This video shows people washing the cobalt ore in a river. This crude processing technique would be unthinkable and incredibly illegal in the United States.

An international advocacy group has launched a lawsuit against some of the world’s largest tech companies for the deaths and injuries of child miners in Congolese cobalt mines.

International Rights Advocates brought the case on behalf of 14 Congolese families whose children were killed or injured while mining for cobalt. The metal is key ingredient in the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power most electronic devices.

The defendants named in the suit include Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Tesla and Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

The lawsuit accuses those companies of “knowingly benefiting from and aiding and abetting the cruel and brutal use of young children.”

A tunnel at one cobalt mine collapsed and killed 63 people.
Lawsuit claims Apple ‘aided and abetted’ forced child labor in cobalt mines.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
October 28, 2020 10:45 pm

Cobalt is used in many products, not only batteries.

Electric vehicles constitute only a small fraction of worldwide cobalt demand.


Paul Aquino
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
October 28, 2020 11:29 pm

Currently Yes. What happens when mandates for ending fossil fuels kick in. Perhaps a moratorium is warranted until a better battery with more accessible less problematic materials become feasible. Even better still a mandate for recycling EV batteries.

Either way importing (shipping lanes use fossil fuels) non-sustainable finite battery components to replace locally sourced fuels isn’t a sound strategy.

Giving up fossil fuels in the west only to have China increase it’s use to keep up with so-called renewables demand seems counterproductive.

Bryan A
Reply to  Paul Aquino
October 29, 2020 5:45 pm

EVs constitute only a small portion of total auto sales too. It took from 2003 – 2017-18 for Tesla to top 200,000 vehicle sales, Ford F Series Trucks sell over 500,000 trucks annually.

Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
October 28, 2020 11:37 pm

Ya but electric cars are advertised and seen as environmentally friendly.

Bill Toland
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
October 29, 2020 12:13 am

Half of total cobalt production is used in rechargeable batteries.

Reply to  Bill Toland
October 29, 2020 8:19 am

And that’s with today’s number of electric cars. What happens to that number if the progressives manage to outlaw all other forms of transit?

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
October 29, 2020 12:20 am

When is 40% a fraction?


Currently, nearly 40% of cobalt consumption is used for rechargeable battery materials, such as lithium cobaltate for lithium-ion batteries and cobaltous oxide for nickel-metal hydride batteries.

But that is not the core of the issue.
The issue is that we should not use products allowing inhuman work conditions, but encourage using products conceived under worthy conditions, even if we have to pay more for the product.

JP Kalishek
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 29, 2020 2:51 am

word play
¾ is a fraction. ⅖ is a fraction version of 40%.
all from the How To Lie With Numbers handbook.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 29, 2020 3:07 am

40% to batteries. A large part of the rechargeable battery production is used for other purposes such as laptop PC, smartphones and power tools.


Bill Toland
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
October 29, 2020 4:35 am

That 40% figure is years out of date. According to the Guardian, batteries now account for the majority of global cobalt demand. Obviously, if it is in the Guardian, it must be true.

woody boyd
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
October 29, 2020 6:30 am

Funny how you are trying to downplay the amount of cobalt used for electric car batteries as many are trying to push that we should go completely to electric cars, which would in turn increase the overall cobalt demand creating even more incentive for those evil enough in Democratic Congo to increase the number of mines and thus the number of children and others abused. So if the current level is acceptable to you does this mean you are willing to end all incentives to buy and proposals calling for an increase in electric cars in order to reduce demand and thus potentially reduce the suffering? Some how I bet the reason you are trying to spin this as you are is actually in defense of electric cars and thus the answer would most likely be “no” to my question.

Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
October 29, 2020 6:24 pm

“When it was new, it had a capacity of 8755 mAh”

“At present Tesla Model S and Model X have a battery capacity ranging from 60-100 kWh and Model 3 has 50-70 kWh.”

9 Ah vs 50 kWh.

How many iMac for one Tesla?

Reply to  niceguy
October 29, 2020 10:56 pm

9 Ah vs 50 kWh.
How many iMac for one Tesla?

You have to multiply the Ah with the voltage potential to go from Ampere – hour to Watt – hour. If they for instance use a 9v battery then 9 Ah give 81 Wh. That means approximately 1000 imac for each Tesla.

However, Tesla is one of the companies which require that their mineral suppliers are certified by the Responsible mineral initiative.

Reply to  niceguy
October 30, 2020 12:31 am

Sorry neither page that comes first on Web search on iMac batteries mentioned that and I am not a mac specialist, nor do I want to become one. I think iMac have 4 battery elements and I don’t know how they are wired and how these are supposed to be added.

Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
October 29, 2020 12:59 pm

Many products are cheap because of nearly slave labor.

Usually social rights advocates/progressives don’t brag about these products being cheap and getting cheaper. The opposite. They even say “energy is not paid the right price” whatever that means.

Also, Areva was criticized by social advocates/anti colonialists because its mines are very well ventilated. Too ventilated. Literally. And for putting miners at risk.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
October 29, 2020 4:35 pm

More important, most cobalt in Congo is mined by big global, environmentally friendly companies that have safe clean mines with state of the art health and safety equipment. This stuff is $35,000/ton for goodness sake. They arent going to use child hand labor when machines can make them billions a year.

“Glencore is the world’s largest cobalt-mining company by a long shot, achieving total production of 27,400 tonnes in 2017. According to the Financial Times, the company is aiming to increase its cobalt output to 63,000 tonnes by 2020.”

I’ve tried to get authors like Paul Driessen of CFACT and others to stop using eco warrior néomarxistes hype articles for their total knowledge on the subject giving the impression that all this stuff comes from 5yr olds. Yeah, the internet stacks Totality hype on the front end of the search but sceptics know you have to dig for info. Sceptics who use this fake news only soil the reputation of the thinking sceptical community.

The very much smaller family scale mining is basically local entrepreneurial and with 40,000 (the hype estimate) of them working in primitive ways, yeah there have been some deaths and accidents. This industry is controlled by the goverment and they have to make some improvements in work practices. To repeat myself, this stuff is worth 35,000 bucks a ton!! The California gold rush and the Yukon gold rush attracted 100,000s of people from all over the world with no safety equipment, no labor regs, no welfare safety net… The families in this business in Congo are better off by far than poor people in other parts where such rich ground is lacking and their deaths from poverty are far greater than the miners. Such people in Africa, Brazil, (where they are called ‘ garimpeiros), etc make a decent living and have pride in their industry. Wherever such possibilities exist, they are exploited by local people.

Please folks, don’t fall for the NGO bull and delegitimize hard working people in countries where scope for self betterment is limited. By all means go after the government to provide training and resources for health and safety.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 31, 2020 4:37 pm

How much is a ton of gold worth?

October 28, 2020 11:44 pm

“Cobalt is used in many products, not only batteries.
Electric vehicles constitute only a small fraction of worldwide cobalt demand.”
Yes maybe, but some here are only concerned with electric cars because they threaten to cripple the oil industry and we can’t have that.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Simon
October 29, 2020 12:42 am

“Simon October 28, 2020 at 11:44 pm

Yes maybe, but some here are only concerned with electric cars because they threaten to cripple the oil industry and we can’t have that.”

You do realise the “oil industry” provides idiots like you with gadgets, food, petrochemicals, plastics, pharmaceutical, fertilizers etc etc etc etc…pretty bleak life without as history can prove.

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  Patrick MJD
October 29, 2020 4:12 am

I hate to bring up ancient history but I was astounded to see Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business interview Henrik Fisker about resurrecting Fisker Electric Motors. You remember the $529 Million financial suppository (Obama inspired) USA Taxpayers got bent over with, on this John Doerr/Al Gore partnership with Kliener, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. Seems Biden has taken a page from Gore’s playbook with his CCP Energy play.
Fisker is now going public with a $2.9 Billion valuation—you can’t make this merde up!!

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
October 29, 2020 8:57 pm

Well, you can’t refute anything a Fisker claims.


Patrick MJD
Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
October 29, 2020 11:57 pm

The Fisker Karma is, IMO, the best option, a small engine driving a generator that powers electric motors, just like a locomotive.

Bill Toland
Reply to  Simon
October 29, 2020 12:48 am

Simon, replacing just the UK’s cars alone with electric vehicles will require twice the world’s entire annual supply of cobalt.

Reply to  Simon
October 29, 2020 12:56 am

No, they don’t threaten to cripple the oil industry. That is as much ‘false news’ as climate change due to CO2.
Oil extraction and use has not been affected by either ‘renewable energy’ or by electric cars. What has been affected is the car industry which has now a legislated reason to obsolete the whole of its existing output, thereby wasting all the energy that has gone into constructing them, and using yet more fossil energy to construct BEVs.
Green is just another marketing tool for greedy consumer oriented capitalism.

Reply to  Simon
October 29, 2020 1:57 am

LOL, electric cars don’t threaten anything. !

even the Ford F series outsells ALL EV in the US by a factor of 5 or 6

And does this look “threatened” to you

Reply to  Simon
October 29, 2020 2:00 am

And of course, oil production comes with HIGHLY PAID jobs,


Reply to  Simon
October 29, 2020 2:04 am

Imagine… EV makers actually having to pay a reasonable wage to skilled adults for their raw materials.

We can’t have that, now can we !!

Woody Boyd
Reply to  Simon
October 29, 2020 6:39 am

You know the problem with “electric cars” is two fold. The source of electricity is fossil fuel and will be such for decades to come unless you are will to go nuclear. So it is just a matter of where you put the fossil fuel for energy production. The second problem is freedom and portability. If you have an electric car and some authority decides you don’t need to go somewhere why all it takes is a quick flip of a switch to shutdown you ability to charge your “electric car” and where are you going to go to get the electricity to charge you car? At present with the freedom to buy gas for your vehicle where ever you choose you have the ability to prevent anyone from stopping you. Gas like almost fossil fuels is easily portable stored energy that can be obtained from many sources easily and then taken to where it is needed. So you may think you are enlightened to poo poo the “evil oil industry”, but between the freedom it provides the individual and the many other products it also provides that I didn’t even mention, you might want to reconsider your opinion based on the lack of information on the subject.

Reply to  Woody Boyd
October 29, 2020 8:58 am

I believe you can charge an electric car from any dryer plug or even from a regular plug. There are a lot more of those than gas stations. If you mean they shut down electricity completely, then the electric pumps at the gas station will also stop.

October 29, 2020 11:50 am

Mike Spalding – How many hours does it take to recharge a Tesla on 110v power? We had an electric vehicle turn up for a car show. He was out of juice. Dash said he had just over 10 miles of range left. We set him up with an extension cord on 110v power (no 220v source available), and after several hours he had just over 20 miles of range available.

And as far as the electric pumps at a gas station. Ever heard of a gasoline or diesel generator? They can run the pumps at a gas station. As far as charging your your car from that same generator, well, plug it in and come back for it a few days later.

Michael Jankowski
October 29, 2020 3:51 pm

Filling up a car at a gas station requires electricity for a few minutes. Recharging an EV requires charging a car several hours. Tesla fills-up are 10-12 hrs at 220V and 90-100 hrs at 110V.

Which one is vulnerable to electrical power outages?

October 28, 2020 11:54 pm

I guess we are all guilty if my phone and laptop plus the dozens of lithium ion batteries that run all my tools and gadgets are requiring a bit of cobalt, especially something made in China. There should be no reason not to have adequate safety measures put in place, and ensure children are in school and not working in artisanal mining using these young “informal” workers.

The Congo is one of the richest countries on the good Earth from a natural resources point of view and is sad to see them exploited to this degree. The Chinese are in Africa and the Congo big time with these small time miners, so don’t expect much improvement from that side of the equation. Boycotting China made goods would probably have the best advantage in turning this particular issue around. The larger Western companies named supposedly purchase their cobalt from the larger industrial mines in the DRC that are also owned by foreigners. Swiss-based Glencore who owns the Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) mine, appears on track to become the largest cobalt mine in the world as of 2019. Hopefully this all sheds more light on the issue of child labor in the DRC.

From a search engine…”More than 70% of the global production of cobalt takes place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), of which 15–30% comes from so-called artisanal and small-scale mines where independent miners use their own resources to extract the mineral.”

Ron Long
Reply to  Earthling2
October 29, 2020 3:16 am

Earthling2, the tendency in mature mining districts without safety controls is for “artesanal” miners to extract low-grade mineralized material from settings not amenable to larger scale modern mining. This low-grade material is then hand-upgraded to a valuable product, which is then sold to the smelter in the district. These smelters are owned by the larger mining companies, who have a tendency to turn a blind eye towards the origin of the purchased material. I have witnessed this type of activity, at Bonanza, Nicaragua, for instance, and want no part of it. The White Mesa uranium mill, for instance, requires an inspection of the mining site and a demand of compliance with MSHAW safety regulations, as well as verified transport of the material in a manner consistent with safety regulations AND with no impact to local communities.

Reply to  Ron Long
October 29, 2020 9:23 am

There is no doubt that low grade ore winds up getting processed by local smelters, and undoubtedly much of this winds up back in China where Tesla, Apple and other multinational companies also operate in China, and wind up using cobalt mined industrially and through artisanal miners, including these child minors. No pun intended. It is tragic that the DRC Congo, the size of Western Europe and with an estimated $23 trillion in natural resource wealth is suffering from this unneeded child labor. There should be enough local wealth available to see the DRC doing better than most African countries, but civil war and strife has shunted that and now they are being colonized by the Chinese.

But seeing as China controls the bulk of the cobalt trade out of the DRC with their extensive mining and smelter base, (and DRC Gov’t and China are also partnered) China also controls and collaborates with the local officialdom regarding the artisanal hand mining by the locals, it is more likely the Chinese are taking in the low-grade processed ore by the locals than the Western mining interests and smelters. It is no secret that the Chinese are the bulk of the local buyers for the hand sourced local low grade cobalt ore. It is is also leading to major conflicts between the locals and the Chinese buyers, who tend to rip them off.

Western mining companies, especially ones located in Canada and USA are increasingly being held to a higher standard such as what they would occur in their home country mining standards as several recent court cases have shown. If I were on the board of a USA or Canadian mining company, I would want to try and ensure there was as minimal exposure to the artisanal sourced cobalt ore as possible. China on the other hand, is more prone to turn a blind eye to anything and everything. And China has a huge appetite for its own domestic manufacturing of batteries requiring cobalt, both for domestic use and export of their own manufactured goods.

Martin Mason
October 29, 2020 12:18 am

But that doesn’t justify it.

October 29, 2020 12:22 am

It would be interesting to know the percentage of cobalt mined this way in comparison of the part mined by big companies like Glencore etc.

Vincent Causey
October 29, 2020 12:46 am

Why isn’t Yanick asked to speak at the UN about the suffering the mining for “clean” vehicles is causing?
Maybe a debate with the sainted Greta? How dare you!

October 29, 2020 12:54 am

I have been reading about cobalt mining conditions for well over a decade: where were all the Watts readers protesting against it ten years ago?

cobalt is in a multitude of modern devices – I don’t see any of you boycotting them.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  griff
October 29, 2020 2:14 am

Griff, I understand You are a great protector of Big Green Business. That is okay, we all have different businesses we worship and support. The issue is what part of Big Green Business is environmentally friendly, what parts are supporting child slavery and what part are counter productive and needless.
Battery cars have been used on a very small scale for over a hundred years. The scale has been so tiny, it didn’t have much influence on resources, environment and labor.
As You have been told again and again, we have to start looking at battery cars from the above perspectives, because estimates point in a direction where these cars will have a major impact on the environment as a whole.
Please don’t continue with blinders on, just because you worship Big Green Business so much. But instead look a bit more objectively on what is good, okay or bad.

Bryan A
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
October 29, 2020 4:36 pm

Until EVs made their great expansion of today, they were mostly Golf Carts with a couple 12 Volt batteries in parallel. Not the great 1/2 ton behemoth Batteries of the Tesla variety. With a proposed replacement of all ICE cars (Biden/AOC WILL find a way to ban drilling/refining eventually) with battery cars, and ALL , and ALL the in home battery backups and battery powered Quick Charging stations, the necessity for Cobalt ore will increase better than 1000 fold on an annual basis.

Reply to  griff
October 29, 2020 2:16 am

How many MAGNITUDES more is used in single EV, griff

Hint.. try to engage what little brain you have before you post, dolt !

I have no problem with the people need cobalt paying a decent wage to skilled workers,

If that pushes the price of a small battery up to double or even triple .. so what.

But if the EV manufacturers had to pay a decent wage to older workers, with all necessary health and safety benefits etc, what would that do to the cost of EVs. !

Oh wait.. I forgot..

YOU don’t give a stuff about these children, just like you don’t care in the least about Arctic sea life.

Reply to  griff
October 29, 2020 2:28 am

So your calling watts readers hypocrites and at the same time boasting that you’ve been a hypocrite for longer than any watts reader. Well done.

Reply to  griff
October 29, 2020 2:46 am

cobalt is in a multitude of modern devices – I don’t see any of you boycotting them.

That’s to be expected from dirty filthy rotten nasty fossil fuel advocates. We’re evil.

What’s your excuse?

Reply to  griff
October 29, 2020 3:03 am

So, griff is CONDONING the mining of cobalt by child labour.

No surprise there.

Why aren’t the SUPER-GREENIES wanting EVs, which use magnitudes more cobalt than a smartphone, refusing to buy EVs unless the cobalt is mined by properly paid adults under proper occupational health and safety rule ?

I would rather pay 2 to 3 times the cost for a small battery.

Would the EV buys be prepared to do the same?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  fred250
October 29, 2020 9:12 am

“So, griff is CONDONING the mining of cobalt by child labour.”

No he’s not. Stop going all hyperbolic all the time.

John Dowling
Reply to  griff
October 29, 2020 3:43 am

It’s probably the vast quantities that are now being mined for the big batteries. Was there such a demand that has stimulated current extensive mining when it was only for relatively small batteries in ‘phones etc?

John Tillman
Reply to  griff
October 29, 2020 5:11 am

WUWT has been on the cobalt case for more than ten years.

There is as yet no such thing as clean energy.

John F Hultquist
Reply to  griff
October 29, 2020 9:15 am

Try the search box, griff.
One of many posts about such issues; 2013:

griff wrote: “cobalt is in a multitude of modern devices – I don’t see any of you boycotting them.

Actually I am boycotting quite a few of the devices, especially electric cars.

October 29, 2020 1:32 am

Every phone and laptap that uses the same cobalt…so every one of us is complicit.

Reply to  Loydo
October 29, 2020 2:06 am

How many magnitudes more is needed for just a single EV, loy

Do you EVAH bother actually thinking before you post ? !!!

Bryan A
Reply to  fred250
October 29, 2020 5:17 pm

AND every cell phone battery weighs in ounces (.5-1.5)
AND every laptop battery weighs in ounces (4-12)
AND every other rechargeable device contains SMALL rechargeable batteries
One Tesla Model 3 contains 2170 rechargeable batteries equal to a laptop battery and weighs 796 lbs.
The Tesla P100D 100kWH battery contains 8256 cells and weighs 1375 lbs.
That 1 battery in 1 car requires the same amount of Ore as Thousands of Laptops and likely more than 10,000 cell phones.
That’s Billions of cars to replace the current ICE fleet and trillions of additional cell phone battery equivalents in new mining requirements and dramatically increased child labor

Reply to  Loydo
October 29, 2020 2:51 am

Every phone and laptap that uses the same cobalt…so every one of us is complicit.

But not everyone of us is guilty of additional complicity in our advocacy of the continuation of the practices outlined above as it relates to EV’s.

That’s just you.

Reply to  sycomputing
October 29, 2020 4:06 am

Ok, your only complicit to a degree.

Reply to  Loydo
October 29, 2020 4:56 am

That’s to be expected from dirty filthy rotten nasty fossil fuel advocates.

But you’re the beautiful people. Why are the beautiful people complicit at all?

Reply to  Loydo
October 29, 2020 1:00 pm

So you agree that the EV manufacturers should be paying the cobalt miners a strong weekly wage, and providing all the OH&S etc that oil and coal miners get.

What would that do to the cost of an already expensive EV.

Would you be prepared to pay that extra cost, or would you keep on yabbering mindlessly like always.

Reply to  fred250
October 30, 2020 9:30 am

Loydo and griff would be willing for all taxpayers to subsidize the extra cost through rebates, etc. for electric car production.

I was at work one morning when a coworker, Lou, walked into the room. Another guy, Bill, was standing with his hands in his pockets. Lou said, “gee Bill, that is the first time I have ever seen a liberal with his hands in his own pockets.”

Loydo and griff KNOW how best to spend OUR money: To benefit them and support their looney ideals.

Liberals are all about GREED. They always want to spend other peoples money.

The Depraved and MOST Deplorable (and still asleep) Vlad the Impaler
Reply to  Loydo
October 29, 2020 3:59 am

Greetings to you, Loydo:

No, not every one of us is complicit. I do not own a cell phone (praise the Lord for that), or a laptop (no need), and all of my electric tools have to be plugged in to work.

There are no circumstances under which I would ever purchase an electric vehicle (or even a ‘hybrid’). When I get into my fossil-fueled vehicle, I need it to run for as long as I need it to run, whether that is the weekly shopping trip to get groceries, or going to see my friends a few states away. I can stop at a petrol fueling station, tank up in a few minutes, and be on my way.

Whether you did or did not know about the exploitation of child labor in this way, and other aspects of “green” energy, such as the tons of toxic waste produced, you have no excuse for making the attempt to include ‘all of us’ in this. Many of us knew this was going on, and saw the whole “green” scam for what it is, and was. In the common vernacular, I think that we were ‘woke’, while you were perhaps, ‘blissfully ignorant’.

Let us see if you are man enough to issue an apology to those of us who knew, and understood, what ‘green’ energy was all about,



You deserve my humble Cobalt apology Vlad, but are there not a thousand other ways our modern world is built on the backs of exploited workers in developing countries? Surely singling out EV batteries for criticism runs the risk of hypocracy?

The Depraved and MOST Deplorable (and still asleep)
Reply to  Loydo
October 29, 2020 6:27 am

Greetings, Loydo,

As an individual, I’ve always been in favor of everyone, regardless of where they live or who they are, having all of the benefits of modern society, which, as we all know, has been built on the exploitation of fossil fuels; coal, first, and then the various liquid fuels from petroleum and such. The only successful way to lift anyone out of poverty is to provide them with abundant, inexpensive energy, so they can provide for their own needs, the needs of their families, and to the benefit of their society.

Further, the capitalist model of economic efficiency is the model that gave us (the “us” there is YOU and ME) what we have; if you do not acknowledge that, then you are beyond any redemption. The US was NOT built on Socialism, or any other form of totalitarianism. As you sweep away totalitarian government, lift people out of poverty, you instill the virtues of self-sufficiency and economic growth. Seems like it was one, Mr. J. F. Kennedy, who said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Sounds a lot like a recipe for improving a society as a whole.

And it does NOT sound like any semblance of the present-day US Democratic Party.

I do NOT single out any cobalt-based batteries; I detest the whole of the “green” energy we’re supposed to transition to. If you are in favor of virtually any part of what “green” energy is supposed to do or be, then the hypocracy is entirely yours. If your stance is that the “West” got to where it is simply by and completely by ‘exploiting’ someone else, then I’ll assume you also blame us for the fact that you are not, right now, doing your communication in either Japanese or German (unless that happens to be your native language). I’m reading a book right now, “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors”. These men, without hesitation, sailed to their deaths, unbeknownst to you, on your behalf. You, Mr. or Ms. Loydo, are not fit to spit shine their boots.

Is the ‘West” perfect? Far from it; but if you ONLY heap blame upon us, then you’re a hypocrit for not forgoing yourself, all that you benefit from. Ditch your cell phone, computer, the lights that are on in your living quarters, the heat you have in winter (or A/C in summer), the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the pharmeceuticals you receive when you need medical care (and the equipment the doctor and nurse use on you when you are being treated), and everything else. I’m quite happy with what is available to me, and I DO NOT ignore that there are others who do not have what I do. But if the typical “Socialist” answer is to bring down those who have, instead of lifting up those who do not, then I say YOU are on the wrong side of history.

So, how about it? Are YOU ready to forgo everything YOU have? Are YOU ready to live in the manner of those YOU say we have exploited? Will you bring YOURSELF down, instead of trying to lift up those who YOU say are exploited?

I’m ready to see everyone live rich, happy, healthy lives; take holiday on the Riviera, own their own private jet, and make life better for us all.

Are you?



Reply to  The Depraved and MOST Deplorable (and still asleep)
October 29, 2020 9:25 am

+ 1,000

Reply to  Loydo
October 29, 2020 9:16 am

I find myself in rare agreement with Loydo. I spent much time in Tanzania in the last 2 years, just to the East of the Congo. Tanzania is not without sin, including in the yse of child labor, but is comparatively a benign place. The Tanzanians shake their heads in conversations about The Congo. Truly it is still the Heart of Darkness Conrad described over a century ago. Epidemics, including ebola and a resurgence of polio, are regular events. Warfare among the many tribes and political groups seem endless. Children are there to be used. Rape? What we think of as acceptable international standards have almost no relevance to the daily life of most Congolese.
The cobalt mining is just part of a large sad picture.
Yet when you meet the Congolese as individuals, including as I did here in New Mexico recently, they seem to be among the sweetest, mentally keen, and kindest people. It is quite hard to get ones head wrapped around all of the suffering in that dark land
Prescriptions for improvement abound. Little has worked. Beware of perverse unintended consequences, and, especially, moral posturing. It’s likely that the alternative to child labor for many is child starvation—-if the child is not earning anything, he/she has no value in the eyes of some. This is not justification for child exploitation. Yet, intervention needs to be intelligent to ensure one is actually doing good. Simple boycotting of Congolese cobalt mining is not enough.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Loydo
October 29, 2020 4:12 am

I don’t think my desktop computer has too much cobalt. I think there is a battery for the clock but it may not be rechargeable. My electricity supplier constantly adds messages to my bill telling how it is getting us nice clean, green energy so I’m sure that I am not harming the environment much, only paying more for my electricity. So I guess my point is that I am not as complicit as you.

Reply to  Loydo
October 29, 2020 9:19 am

Hold on there, pardner! Not ‘EVERYONE” is guilty. here! I do NOT use a cellphone, never have! Also, my laptop, when I use it, does not even HAVE a battery! The last time it died, years ago, I just plugged it in to the AC outlet! As for using a EV car, NO WAY, Jose! Try driving one of those from coast to coast, when time is of the essence! I guess one has to be pretty stupid to be ‘green’, huh?

October 29, 2020 1:48 am

Last year I warned my company brass that the tide was turning against wind and solar due to child labor, but they didn’t listen and installed an expensive solar array on the roof. They told me it would appease the greenies and buy them social licence. (Social licence is a favored term, they like to use it a lot around my office)

I give it a year before the solar panels are removed and never spoken of again.

Climate believer
October 29, 2020 2:08 am

The construction of electric cars consumes a very large amount of metal; Lithium, Aluminium, Copper, Cobalt. They are actually more material intensive in their composition than current systems based on fossil fuels.

To compensate for the weight of the batteries of electric vehicles, manufacturers have increased the share of aluminium in bodywork, and gearboxes. A car in the EU today, already contains an average of 179 kg of aluminium, the electric Audi e-tron, has 804 kg, nearly 4.5 times the amount.

To make matters worse, the production of aluminium consumes three times more energy than that of steel.

Reply to  Climate believer
October 29, 2020 3:06 am

“the production of aluminium consumes three times more energy than that of steel.”

You could never build an EV using just wind and solar energy. !

John Tillman
Reply to  fred250
October 29, 2020 5:25 am

True. Most aluminum in the US was smelted with Columbia River hydro power in the last century. Those environmentally devastating mills are now gone, and the dams’ electricity powers APPL and GOOG’s server farms.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Climate believer
October 29, 2020 4:24 am

The suspension and tires also carry a much heavier load and are more material intensive. Tesla has had suspension issues but always blames the problems on drivers and made the owners sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Would you buy a vehicle that came with a required NDA? It doesn’t sound like the company have faith in it’s design capabilities and wants to hide it’s shortcomings.

October 29, 2020 3:25 am

If you are honestly concerned for child labor in the mining industry you should only buy products from companies which require that their mineral suppliers are certified by the Responsible Mineral Initiative

or similar organisations.

Most electric vehicle producers require that from their suppliers.

Rick C PE
Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
October 29, 2020 9:42 am

Jan: I followed your link and it appears that this is a new organization that is not yet in operation. They say they use ISO accredited independent compliance assessment auditors, but when you drill down to their Excel list of approved auditors, it’s empty. They also say the audit/monitor compliance at the smelter level. Seems like that leaves room for mines supplying ore to perhaps surreptitiously mix in some questionable material. There is quite a bit of green-washing being done by organizations claiming to be monitoring green/social compliance. I’d look for programs that use established global independent compliance assessment companies such as SGS, TUV, UL, Intertek, Bureau Veritas, etc. They should be more trustworthy.

Reply to  Rick C PE
October 29, 2020 11:17 am

They have a list of approved auditors here:

The organisation was founded din 2008 and has 380 member companies.

Paul Aquino
October 29, 2020 7:04 am

Currently Yes. What happens when mandates for ending fossil fuels kick in. Perhaps a moratorium is warranted until a better battery with more accessible less problematic materials become feasible. Even better still a mandate for recycling EV batteries.

Either way importing (shipping lanes use fossil fuels) non-sustainable finite battery components to replace locally sourced fuels isn’t a sound strategy.

Giving up fossil fuels in the west only to have China increase it’s use to keep up with so-called renewables demand seems counterproductive.

October 29, 2020 7:32 am

Don’t forget how nasty rare-earth mining is either, nor that Lithium mining is so land-intensive that it can be easily seen from space.

October 29, 2020 8:54 am

Be careful what you wish for….higher cobalt prices just allow miners to buy big equipment, and they then send many of their manual labourers home to starve…..

October 29, 2020 9:00 am

Note that Tesla is switching to cobalt free batteries. And their new batteries hold much more power.

October 29, 2020 10:46 am

“Note that Tesla is switching to cobalt free batteries. And their new batteries hold much more power.”
I’ve pointed that our here before… doesn’t go down so well. People tend to only want to report on the bad stuff about electric cars. It’s like they don’t want them to happen. Can’t think why.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Simon
October 29, 2020 2:07 pm

It couldn’t possibly be because of all the subsidies they get, could it? Or all the nauseating “planet-saving” virtue signaling? Or the retarded idea like Califoolya’s of forcing everyone to buy EVs by a certain date? Nah…

October 29, 2020 9:33 am

This is just the tiny tip of the iceberg that comes from “not in my backyard” in case you were thinking all that copper, silver, lead, aluminum, mercury, tin, tungsten, nickel, and rare earths just fell out of the sky or were not used at all in your country, city, neighborhood, and personal residence.

October 29, 2020 10:11 am

Cobalt is sold by the pound not by the ounce. The only reason we all focus on eastern Congo production and informal production methods there is the market and price signal is not sending professional exploration teams out to other prospective sites and investment projects. The main shortage right now is in finding fools to lose money on new cobalt investments. New markets have a give and take in supply and price swings. Give it time.

Michael S. Kelly
October 29, 2020 9:00 pm

Just think of it this way. These children are in touch with the Earth, in the same way environmentalists in penthouses everywhere would like the rest of us to be. Isn’t that wonderful?

Verified by MonsterInsights