“When BMW AG revealed it was designing electric versions of its X3 SUV and Mini, the going rate for 21 kilograms of cobalt—the amount of the metal needed to power typical car batteries—was under $600. Only 16 months later, the price tag is approaching $1,700 and climbing by the day.” Electric cars need batteries. Those batteries need cobalt. Much of that limited supply of cobalt comes from mines in the “Democratic Republic of the Congo, where corruption is entrenched in everyday business practices … a fifth of [the cobalt] is drawn out by artisanal miners who work with their hands — some of whom are children.” From Bloomberg: Hype Meets Reality as Electric Car Dreams Run Into Metal Crunch.

+ “An estimated 100,000 cobalt miners in Congo use hand tools to dig hundreds of feet underground with little oversight and few safety measures … And the mining activity exposes local communities to levels of toxic metals that appear to be linked to ailments that include breathing problems and birth defects, health officials say.” WaPo on the Cobalt Pipeline: Tracing the path from deadly hand-dug mines in Congo to consumers’ phones and laptops.