The dangers of cobalt mining in the Congo

February 16, 2023 – Cobalt mining is taking a huge toll on the people and environment of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Siddharth Kara.

A new book by Kara, a visiting scientist at Harvard Chan School and an author, researcher, screenwriter, and activist on modern slavery, exposes the harms that result from the mining of cobalt, an essential component of the lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that power smartphones, tablets, laptops, and electric vehicles.

In the book—Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives—Kara documents brutal mining practices, militia-controlled mining areas, child labor, and mining-related deaths in the D.R.C., where about 75% of the world’s supply of cobalt is mined.

Kara was interviewed about the book on NPR’s “Fresh Air” on February 1, and on Australia’s ABC Radio National on February 8.

Listen to the NPR interview: How ‘Modern-Day Slavery’ Powers The Rechargeable Battery Economy

Listen to the ABC Radio National Interview: The bloody truth about cobalt mining in the Congo and how it powers our lives