As the production of electric cars increases, the demand for cobalt for those cars increases. On Monday, Bloomberg News posted an article on some of the mines that supply that cobalt.
The article reports:
The appetite for electric cars is driving a boom in small-scale cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some mines have been found to be dangerous and employ child labor.
Production from so-called artisanal mines probably rose by at least half last year, according to the estimates of officials at three of the biggest international suppliers of the metal, who asked not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak on the matter. State-owned miner Gecamines estimates artisanal output accounted for as much as a quarter of the country’s total production in 2017.
That’s a concern for carmakers from Volkswagen AG to Tesla Inc., who are seeking to secure long-term supplies of the battery ingredient but don’t want to be enmeshed in a scandal about unethical mining practices. Tech giants including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. endured bad publicity after a 2016 Amnesty International report said children were being sent down some Congolese mines to dig for cobalt destined for their gadgets. Pit and tunnel collapses killed dozens of workers in 2015, the advocacy group said.
The article also notes that as much as $2.5 billion of cobalt a year is being smuggled across the border into Zambia.
I am sure there are safer ways to mine cobalt. The fact that children are being used in these mines in this dangerous work is horrendous. I realize that the culture of the countries involved may allow for children to do this work, but this is one situation where the United Nations might be useful. There are organizations within the United Nations that are supposed to protect children–they need to at least make a statement on the use of children to mine cobalt.
The idea of electric cars is intriguing; however, we need to look at the cost of creating this technology.
The Obama Administration is using taxpayer money to subsidize electric cars. John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday that pointed out that only 29 percent of Americans support those subsidies. Please follow the link to see a wonderful cartoon that explains exactly how electric cars work! The article at Power Line reminds us where the electricity for electric cars comes from–coal-fired power plants.
The article points out:
Note, too, that as the Obama administration feverishly tries to put power plants out of business with onerous new regulations, the effect will be to force the cost of driving electric vehicles higher and higher.
Man has been looking for the perpetual motion machine for centuries. We haven’t found it yet. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is attempting to subsidize it!
A website called GlobalWarming.org reported on Friday that the Las Vegas Sun reports that Amonix, Inc., a manufacturer of solar panels that received $5.9 million from the Porkulus, will cut two-thirds of its workforce, about 200 employees, only seven months after opening a factory in Nevada. Earlier last week, Ener1, a manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles and recipient of Stimulus largesse, filed for bankruptcy. Evergreen Energy , also a recipient of stimulus money, has also declared bankruptcy. These companies are not even viable when the government is writing them enormous checks! When you consider the amount of stimulus money spent on pet projects of President Obama, it is scary. He could have simply given each taxpayer $100,000. I suspect that would have truly stimulated the economy!
The interesting part of the article linked above is the comments. There are definitely some people out there who are paying attention and who are angry that taxpayer money is being spent in this way.