Documentary: Cobalt Hell

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RT: The Cobalt Hell documentary unveils the dangers of cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This mineral is essential for making gadgets like smartphones and laptops and necessary in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The sad part is people who supply this mineral are not likely to benefit from cobalt’s unique properties any time soon. Miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the bulk of the world’s cobalt is found, are forced to extract and process the ore by hand, which causes serious health problems and environmental pollution.

The minerals are cleaned in river water, which pollutes it. Though there is no specific research, there’s a direct correlation between some widespread illnesses among mineral mine workers and the overall health level of the population. Also, a lot of children work in quarries and pregnant women.

Children exposed to cobalt ore often have a problem with delayed growth. They either grow slower or, at some point, stop growing at all. As for pregnant women, there are occasional deformities in newborns.

So if a pregnant woman is working in a quarry, her baby might have fetal abnormalities or be stillborn.

Watch the film to get more perspective on the situation.

00:00 – intro

2:54 – Children working in the quarry may present with delayed growth

5:47 – Trezor and all of his family work at the quarry

8:08 – Jean works in the quarry to earn money for education

12:00 – American and Chinese companies dug the quarries

14:06 – Tresor can mine five bags a day

17:05 – Cobalt’s price is based on its concentration

18:24 – The state prohibits pregnant women from working in the mines

21:11 – Employers often cheat and leave workers underpaid

23:49 – When the ore is extracted, it’s delivered directly to warehouses

25:31 – By 2022, the number of children employed in the mines will be reduced

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