"Dangerous mining conditions plague Congo, home to the world’s largest supply of cobalt, a key ingredient in electric cars. A leadership battle threatens reforms."
"KASULO, Democratic Republic of Congo — A man in a pinstripe suit with a red pocket square walked around the edge of a giant pit one April afternoon where hundreds of workers often toil in flip-flops, burrowing deep into the ground with shovels and pickaxes.
His polished leather shoes crunched on dust the miners had spilled from nylon bags stuffed with cobalt-laden rocks.
The man, Albert Yuma Mulimbi, is a longtime power broker in the Democratic Republic of Congo and chairman of a government agency that works with international mining companies to tap the nation’s copper and cobalt reserves, used in the fight against global warming.
Mr. Yuma’s professed goal is to turn Congo into a reliable supplier of cobalt, a critical metal in electric vehicles, and shed its anything-goes reputation for tolerating an underworld where children are put to work and unskilled and ill-equipped diggers of all ages get injured or killed."
Dionne Searcey and Eric Lipton report for the New York Times with photographs and video by Ashley Gilbertson November 29, 2021.