continental battery

Samsung, Apple, BMW…those benefitting from DRC’s cobalt and coltan reserves

By Marie Toulemonde

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Posted on August 3, 2021 05:35

RDC Batterie TAR-02

5G, green energy, smartphones… The explosive growth of markets linked to the digital transition and ‘low carbon’ technologies could be a blessing for the DRC, whose subsoil is rich in coltan and cobalt. But this is still far from being the case, with difficult conditions and a battle to regulate informal mining. A deep dive infographic into the geography and economy of the DRC’s mines.

According to a BloombergNEF study published at the end of June, demand for rechargeable batteries between now and 2030 is expected to increase by more than 400%.

Even though these so-called ‘lithium-ion’ technologies are an essential part of the ‘low-carbon’ and digital transition, they also use large quantities of rare metals. In this respect, the DRC might find itself embroiled in a real ‘geological scandal’, at the centre of which are cobalt and coltan, of which the country holds almost all the world’s reserves.

‘Geological scandal’

The explosion in demand for these active materials – which are essential for the manufacture of batteries used in smartphones, electric cars and wind turbines – could be a boon for the country, where 77% of the population still lives below the poverty line.

The phone or tablet on which you are reading this article most likely contains a few grammes of this

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