Chinese control half of the Congo's cobalt

Cobalt mine in Democratic Republic Congo. About half of all mined cobalt comes from DRC, mainly from the province of Katanga. The mining takes place close to towns and villages. Local communities regularly are cut off from their farmland and water sources near mines, without having had a say in the matter. There are several examples of forced relocations of entire villages. Inhabitants of the village Kishiba, for example, were forced to move to make way for Frontier, a cobalt and copper mine. Their new homes in Kimfumpa lack the most basic of services such as clean water, fertile farmland, schools and health care. Photo: ECCJ Secretariat

Chinese companies have heavily invested in lithium and cobalt production for lithium-ion batteries in electric cars.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese companies control at least half of the production of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Cobalt is a rare metal. The Democratic Republic of Congo produces 70 per cent of the world's cobalt. Four out of five cobalt refining capacities are located in China.

The Chinese Ganfeng and Tianqi are, in turn, leading lithium producers with 17 and 12 per cent stakes. The mines are in Australia and South America.