Bill Gates is reportedly backing a mining startup that is getting close to "investing" in the Democratic Republic of Congo - which is, of course, a nice way to say, likely mining there.
The company, KoBold Metals, already is developing a copper project in Zambia, Bloomberg reported this week. Chief executive officer Kurt House said the company had already bid for one asset but didn't close a deal.
He told Bloomberg: “We think it is probably the best place in the world for the types of materials we’re looking for.”
KoBold is actively scouting international sites for fresh reserves of critical metals vital for the green-energy shift, the report says. The Congo, a leading cobalt supplier and major copper source, is poised for a surge in demand for these elements, essential for clean-energy systems and battery technology.
The company, headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, seeks Congo operations in line with President Biden's administration's focus on enhancing American stakes in the electric-vehicle value chain. With financial support from entities like Gates's Breakthrough Energy Ventures and market leader BHP Ltd., the firm also boasts investment from Michael Bloomberg.
But recall, we have written in the past about the horrors of mining that takes place in the Congo.
Siddharth Kara, who is a Harvard visiting professor and also the author of “Cobalt Red: How The Blood of The Congo Powers Our Lives" took to the Joe Rogan podcast late last year with comments about cobalt mining that have garnered millions of listens.
He told Rogan that there's no such thing as "clean cobalt" and that the term was "all marketing," according to a wrap up of the podcast by the NY Post. He noted that the level of suffering of Congolese people working in cobalt mines was "astounding", the report says.
“I’ve never seen [a cobalt mine that did not rely on child labor or slavery] and I’ve been to almost all the major industrial cobalt mines," he told Rogan.
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