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Joe Rogan guest Siddharth Kara reveals the dark side of Cobalt

A Harvard visiting professor and modern-day slavery activist exposed the “horrific” cobalt mining industry in the Congo in a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” that went viral. The video has already received over one 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 “pure cobalt.”

“It’s all marketing,” Kara said.

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

Asked by Rogan if there were any cobalt mines in the Congo that did not rely on “child labor”[ads1]; or “slavery,” the Harvard visiting professor said there were none.

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

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

Joe Rogan guest Siddharth Kara reveals the dark side of Cobalt
A guest on the Joe Rogan Experience revealed the dark side of cobalt mining.
The Joe Rogan Experience

As a result, it’s hard to think of a piece of technology that doesn’t rely on cobalt to function, Kara said. “Every smartphone, every tablet, every laptop and most importantly, every electric vehicle” needs the mineral.

“We cannot function on a daily basis without cobalt, and three-quarters of our supply comes from the Congo,” he added. “And it’s being mined in terrible, heartbreaking, dangerous conditions.”

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

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

Siddharth Kara
Harvard visiting professor Siddharth Kara said there were zero cobalt mines in the Congo that did not rely on child labor or slavery.
The Joe Rogan Experience

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

Cobalt “first took off because it was used in lithium-ion batteries to maximize charge and stability,” Kara explained. “And it just so happened that the Congo is sitting on more cobalt than the rest of the planet combined,” he added.

As a result, Congo, a country of about 90 million people, became the center of a geopolitical conflict over valuable minerals. “Before anyone knew what was happening, [the] Chinese authorities [and] Chinese mining companies took control of almost all the major mines, and local people have been displaced, Kara said. After that, the Congolese are “under duress”.

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

He continued: “They dig in absolutely subhuman, gut-wrenching conditions for a dollar a day, and feed cobalt up the supply chain into all the phones, all the tablets, and especially electric cars.”

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

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

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

“This is the bottom of the supply chain for iPhone, Tesla, Samsung,” he said.

Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.

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