Cobalt & DRC: A reminder of the salient points

After today’s news that some end users of cobalt have been served with a US lawsuit, it is important to remember the salient points of cobalt in relation to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Here, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence outlines the facts and our opinion of the situation:

> The vast majority of DRC cobalt does not come from artisanal sources (>80%)

> 75% of cobalt produced in 2019 will be produced in the DRC

> The total cobalt market in 2019 will be 138,000 tonnes

> Benchmark Mineral Intelligence estimates that <10% of mined cobalt is artisanal material

> However, artisanal does not necessary mean illegal: only a fraction of artisanal cobalt is illegally extracted material or linked to human rights abuses

> As a result, cobalt can be artisanal, legal and safely mined

> Artisanal labour is an important regional source of income to the DRC population on the extreme end of the poverty line

> It is key for the supply chain to engage with workers to turn illegal and dangerous operations into a safe source of material; there are a number of initiatives already in place that do this

> DRC mining concessions are vast and they include roads and, in some cases, entire villages; as a company operating there, it is understood that you have no legal right to remove people from your concession

> Such is the country’s dominance, without DRC cobalt there will be no electric vehicle industry

You can learn more about Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s cobalt coverage here

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