Out of sight, out of mines

As a generalization, it's safe to say that there are few things in this world more odious to an environmentalist than the mining of metals and minerals, except if those activities are conducted in an obscure, faraway place, and if the fruits of those activities bear the cool, sleek moniker of "clean." There's a modern-day "Heart of Darkness" being perpetrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where tens of thousands of children as young as four are forced to haul rocks to the surface from mines dug by hand as part of a cobalt-mining operation, under conditions that would make Upton Sinclair, or, for that matter, Joseph Conrad, blush.  Last August, the Daily Mail printed an article describing these conditions, where they also reported that each electric car requires an average 15 kg (33 lbs) of cobalt in its batteries. To give credit where due, according to Benchmark Minerals, Panasonic has enabled Tesla to reduce its cobalt consumption by...(Read Full Post)

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