Dirty Power: Is Your Phone Fueled by Child Labor?


The dirty little secret of Net Zero is that China uses forced labor to mine cobalt in Africa. That also means the United States relies heavily on child labor and the enemy to mine one of the most valuable minerals in modern society.

Even NPR acknowledges the problem. The outlet reported that “right now, the majority of cobalt the US uses and its allies come from mines owned or controlled either by China or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” NPR didn’t explain that the batteries used in those supposed eco-friendly electric vehicles are much dirtier than environmentalists acknowledge, due to cobalt mining. Our phones require cobalt as well. In the last few years, lithium-ion battery demand has made cobalt, a relatively insignificant substance, a much-desired material. One cobalt mine was planned for the U.S. in Idaho but closed before it could begin operations. These mines are needed not because we want to achieve the impossible “net zero”, but because electronics, which form a major part of society, require cobalt.

I have previously raised ethical concerns about cobalt mining used in EV batteries. According to “Ethical Consumer” in 2022, “70% of world cobalt is produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” However, there’s an enormous child labor problem in DRC. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, child labor is used in Congo’s mining of cobalt, copper, diamonds, gold, tin, tungsten, and tantalum. The toxic battery in your hippie uncle’s Tesla is dependent on child exploitation, despite the smug grin on his face.

The worst is yet to come. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controls or influences a large portion of DRC cobalt. This party also has the modest goal of dominating the entire world and destroying America. China’s cobalt output is expected to increase from 44 percent in March to 50 percent by the end of this year. In 2022, China’s cobalt refinery will reach 140,000 metric tonnes-a 77 percent share of the world’s capacity for refining. So the cobalt in your phone could come from our worst enemy. This is not exactly a positive situation. Hunter Biden, by the way, was involved in a project that helped the Chinese purchase one of the largest cobalt deposits on the planet.

It is terrifying that Communist China controls such a large amount of cobalt. While I’m writing this article using a cobalt-required phone, I can’t help but think: How long before China used its cobalt dominance to exploit America just like the DRC uses children to extract cobalt from the ground?