Ethical Cobalt Mining
We support implementing import standards in the U.S. to support industry sustainability and human rights on a global scale.
LEADING THE WORLD BY EXAMPLE
Cobalt is a rare earth mineral that is a critical component in numerous technologies, such as batteries in electronic devices and vehicles, renewable energy sources, defense technologies, and medical treatments. Approximately 70% of the world’s cobalt is mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where exploitative child labor is often used in the extraction of cobalt. Furthermore, China not only owns the majority of large mines in the DRC but also processes about 80% of the world’s cobalt, giving China control over much of the world’s cobalt supply chain. 76% of the U.S. cobalt supply is imported meaning the U.S. cobalt supply chain is reliant on China, vulnerable to disruption, and tainted by human rights violations. Increasing domestic supply is not an option due to domestic environmental and political constraints. However, an ethical supply chain of cobalt is possible if mined and processed through certain companies and countries. We propose that the U.S. implement import standards to prevent the importation of cobalt products associated with human rights violations. Implementing such requirements would be an essential step to developing a more ethical cobalt supply chain and disrupting the Chinese monopoly.