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Podcast guest Joe Rogan explains electric vehicle's 'heartbreaking' source, iPhone batteries in viral video

A Harvard visiting professor and modern slavery activist exposed Congo’s “appalling” cobalt mining industry in a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” that went viral. The video has already racked up 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 marketing,” Kara said.

Kara told Rogan the level of “suffering” of Congolese working in the cobalt mines was staggering.

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Podcast giant Joe Rogan reacted to a guest's stories about the cobalt mining industry in a recent episode.

Podcast giant Joe Rogan reacted to a guest’s stories about the cobalt mining industry in a recent episode.
(The Joe Rogan/Spotify Experience)

When Rogan asked him if there was a cobalt mine in the Congo that didn’t rely on ‘child labor’ or ‘slavery’, the Harvard visiting professor replied that there was. not.

“I have never seen any and have visited almost every major industrial cobalt mine” in the country, Kara said.

One reason is that the demand for cobalt is exceptionally high: “Cobalt is found in every rechargeable lithium battery manufactured in the world today,” he explained.

As a result, it’s hard to think of any technology that doesn’t rely on cobalt to work, Kara said. Every smartphone, every tablet, every laptop and above all, every electric vehicle needs this mineral.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest nations in the world.  (AP Photo/Clarice Butsapu)

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest nations in the world. (AP Photo/Clarice Butsapu)

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“We cannot operate on a daily basis without cobalt, and three-quarters of the supply comes from Congo,” he added. And it is operated in appalling, harrowing and dangerous conditions.

But “on the whole, the world doesn’t know what’s going on” in Congo, Kara said.

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

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

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Cobalt initially “took off because it was used in lithium-ion batteries to maximize their charge and stability,” Kara explained. “And the Congo happens to be sitting on more cobalt than the rest of the planet combined,” he added.

Men work in a gold mine in Chudja, northeastern Congo, one of the areas in which the so-called

Men work in a gold mine in Chudja, northeastern Congo, one of the areas of extraction of “conflict minerals”.
(AFP Photo/Lionel Healing)

As a result, Congo, a country of around 90 million people, has become the center of a geopolitical conflict over precious minerals. Before anyone knew what was going on, [the] Chinese government [and] Chinese mining companies have taken over almost all major mines and local people have been displaced,” Kara said. Subsequently, the Congolese are “under duress”.

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

British rapper Zuby recommended his nearly one million followers 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 you give it a listen.”

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

“It’s the bottom of the supply chain for your iPhone, your Tesla, your Samsung,” he said.

Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.

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