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VIRTUOUS EV OWNERS

 |  Gerry Sanders  | 
The only point not mentioned in Alister Brickell’s brilliant EV ‘ Report Card ‘ (Informer, 27 February) is the hypocritical moral high ground EV owners claim to occupy.

Anyone who reads S. Kara’s ‘Cobalt Red’ published last year (once they wipe the tears from their eyes), will be rapidly disabused. Tens of thousands of artisanal workers, many women and children, work in underground mines in southern Congo where they scrape out cobalt ore which is then laundered through the ‘official’, mainly Chinese, companies.

The hundreds of kilometres of tunnels are airless and totally unsupported, which means collapses are regular. When this happens, the evidence is buried forever, and relatives are even denied a decent burial as the bodies cannot be recovered. The appalling conditions are invisible to the outside world and no-one, from digger to battery, takes any responsibility whatsoever. The Congolese Government from the President down is paid off.

Of course, the problem existed before EVs with cell phones but the (up to) 10kg of cobalt needed in a battery is ONE THOUSAND TIMES more than in a cell phone, such that the demand has recently exploded and exploitation with it.

The COP targets of eliminating hydrocarbon engines will require millions of tons of cobalt and push hundreds of thousands of men, women and children into hazardous pits and tunnels to meet demand. No doubt Mr. Tegg, “a strident anti-miner”, will be the first to boycott such unethical practices.


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