Today, the world claims to be in the information era/age. It is somehow theoretical than it is realistic. The cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a simple example that shows the world is still in the ruthless capitalism age.
More than a decade ago, a United States hip-hop star sang about the African blood diamonds. The artist, Kanye West, said in his song how he did not know his diamond cross chain with a crucifix caused pain in Africa. The diamond making that chain came from forced labor on the backs of women and children.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie ‘Blood Diamonds’ depicting the brutal realities in Botswana mines and other African Countries also helped spread awareness. Somehow, precious stones authorities worldwide came up with a means to help identify stones from conflict areas. Nevertheless, the black market still thrives with blood diamonds and other stones.
Boris Johnson, UK’s Prime Minister has pointed towards the mass manufacturing of modern electric cars. The Prime Minister aims to make electric cars the norm by year 2030.
The move is good for the environment as it saves planet earth from global warming and conserves the ozone layer.
However, the move also means more exploitation for the communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Children as young as 8 years old work in the cobalt mines of Congo. The situation only points towards the companies buying cobalt from Congo without background checks.
The underage kids in Congo make as little as £1.50 per day ferrying heavy cobalt metallic stones on their backs from the mines to buyers. Their age dictates that they should be in school and under the care of grown-ups. However, the conflict in Congo has pushed them into extreme poverty where they only hope for survival.
The conflict started as political clashes. Others were community and or, religious clashes. However, the conflict evolved. Today, the areas with the most minerals see the most conflicts. The militia groups moved to areas rich in cobalt and other minerals. They brutally control the mines.
The situation clearly shows that the conflict is more business bent than anything else. The government cannot access the conflict areas but foreign businessmen go in and out of the areas buying cobalt without any harm. The same businessmen funding these murderous militia groups by buying their stones are also the ones expected to provide for the electric cars.
As a powerful man in the UK, Boris Johnson should first ensure the safe and fair mining of cobalt before supporting the making of electrical cars. The European, American, and Chinese countries should come together to make sure safe mining takes place where children are in school than in mines. They should make sure nobody dies for their electric cars.
The information age does need another song from Kanye West nor another DiCaprio movie to expose the blood cobalt mines. The internet is already full of enough information for global bodies to act.