Joe Rogan guest Siddharth Kara reveals the dark side of Kobalt

A Harvard visiting professor and modern slavery activist exposed Congo’s “appalling” cobalt mining industry in a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” which went viral. The video has already had over a million views and counting.

Siddharth Kara, author of “Cobalt Red: How The Blood of The Congo Powers Our Lives,” told podcast host Joe Rogan that there is no such thing as “clean cobalt.”

“It’s all marketing,” Kara said.

Kara told Rogan that the level of “suffering” faced by Congolese working in cobalt mines is astounding.

When asked by Rogan if there was a cobalt mine in the Congo that didn’t rely on “child labor” or “slavery,” the Harvard visiting professor told him that there wasn’t one.

“I’ve never seen one and have been to almost every major industrial cobalt mine in the country,” Kara said.

One reason is that the demand for cobalt is exceptionally high: “Cobalt is in every single lithium battery pack that’s made around the world today,” he explained.

Joe Rogan
A Joe Rogan Experience guest revealed the dark side of cobalt mining.
The Joe Rogan Experience

As a result, it’s difficult to imagine technology that doesn’t rely on cobalt to work, Kara said. “Every smartphone, every tablet, every laptop and above all every electric vehicle” needs the mineral.

“We cannot function on a day-to-day basis without cobalt, and three quarters of supplies come from Congo,” he added. “And it’s being mined under appalling, heartbreaking and dangerous conditions.”

But “by and large, the world doesn’t know what’s happening in Congo,” Kara said.

“I don’t think people realize how awful it is,” Rogan agreed.

Siddharth Kara
Harvard visiting professor Siddharth Kara said there are no cobalt mines in the Congo that don’t rely on child labor or slavery.
The Joe Rogan Experience

The Biden administration recently reached an agreement with the DRC and Zambia to strengthen the green energy supply chain, despite the DRC’s documented problems with child labor.

Cobalt “started initially because it was used in lithium-ion batteries to maximize their charge and stability,” Kara explained. “And it’s just that Congo sits on more cobalt than the rest of the planet combined,” he added.

As a result, the Congo, a country with around 90 million inhabitants, became the center of a geopolitical conflict over valuable minerals. “Before anyone knew what happened, [the] Chinese government [and] Chinese mining companies have taken control of almost all major mines and local people have been displaced,” Kara said. Then the Congolese are “under duress”.

Gold mine Congo
Siddharth Kara said miners were working in “inhumane” conditions for less than a dollar a day.
AFP via Getty Images

He continued, “They’re digging in absolutely inhumane, heartbreaking conditions for a dollar a day and feeding the supply chain cobalt into every phone, every tablet and especially electric cars.”

British rapper Zuby recommended his almost one million followers to watch the interview.

“This latest Joe Rogan Experience podcast is heavy,” he wrote. “If you have a smartphone or an electric vehicle (that’s 100% of you) then I highly recommend checking it out.”

Some, if not all, of the world’s famous technology and energy companies are caught up in the humanitarian crisis, Kara said.

“This is the end of the supply chain of your iPhone, your Tesla, your Samsung,” he claimed.

Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.

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