According to USGS’ 2017 Cobalt Commodity Summary, the DRC is the largest producer of Cobalt and holds close to 50 percent of the world’s reserves of the mineral. In addition, an estimated 20 percent of Cobalt is mined by ASM in the DRC. Cobalt is used in lithium-ion batteries that form an integral part of mobile phones, laptop computers and electric vehicles. Cobalt demand is expected to rise significantly in the coming years.
In the DRC, Cobalt is extracted from industrial and artisanal mines. A number of civil society and media reports, including the 2016 Amnesty International report, “This is what we die for: Human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo power the global trade in Cobalt,” detailed instances of child labor and egregious health and safety conditions, particularly in artisanal Cobalt mining. These reports, combined with additional factors, made it clear that due diligence on these risks, consistent with international standards, is a priority.
The Hitachi ABB Power Grids Cobalt Policy is downloadable above.