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With 40,000 child laborers in the Congo mining cobalt, someone, somewhere is buying this cheaper source of cobalt, yes?

Whoever is buying this stuff isn't using it to sprinkle on their cereal. And we know the Congo supplies over 50% of the world's supply of cobalt today and the demand for lithium batteries in phones, computers and especially automobiles has helped double the price twice in three years time.

So, yes, this cheap source of cobalt is making its way into virtue signaling cool-factor goods of Western countries, be it batteries in your iPhone assembled in China or Japanese batteries assembled in a gigafactory for cars. Congolese cobalt is cheaply abundant and fungible. CEOs of Western countries will give lip service that they don't want child labor involved in their products, but you can bet your bippy Congolese cobalt is inside products which promote themselves as clean, green energy.

I would love to know that the battery in my plug-in Advanced Prius hybrid doesn't have a molecule of cobalt from Congo, but, knowing how easy it is to marry ketchup and whiskey bottles of inferior brands with products sporting the best labels, I sincerely doubt my battery is as pure as Toyota has assured us.

p.s. Keep in mind the 300% to 400% rise in cobalt prices has come with all these large supply points you've mentioned in your post. The Congo, however, supplies over 50% of the world's cobalt for one reason: it is cheaper.

There are no labor laws or unions in the Congo.

Mix Congolese cobalt in with cobalt from more expensive mining operations elsewhere, who will know? And what CEO really wants to know? Shareholders must be placated with better margins.
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