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Electric cars need cobalt and copper, and Zambia’s president-elect wants to supply it

Zambian president-elect Hakainde Hichilema won a landslide victory in the country’s election last week, beating the incumbent, Edgar Lungu. Hichilema’s plan is to ramp up mining in particular to jump-start Zambia’s economy – and provide the rapidly growing electric vehicle battery industry with crucial cobalt and copper.

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EGEB: Caterpillar will develop all-electric vehicles for a graphite mine

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Caterpillar agrees to develop all-electric mining machines for Nouveau Monde Graphite.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo will build two solar farms in the copper- and cobalt-rich southeast.
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Tesla releases ‘Conflict Minerals Report’, increases minerals tracking and reduces cobalt use

Tesla battery cells

There’s mounting pressure on automakers and battery makers to make sure they don’t contribute to human right violations by using “conflict minerals”. These include cobalt mined in artisanal mines, which often have terrible working conditions and even sometimes employ children, in Congo.

Tesla issued its latest ‘Conflict Minerals Report’ to disclose its effort for “responsible sourcing” which includes reducing the use of cobalt.

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How to invest in the resource boom that Tesla Gigafactory and electric vehicles are creating

gigafactory-model

For those of us who believe that the entire automotive industry is rapidly transitioning from being powered by fossil fuels to electricity, it becomes important to transfer any asset from one to the other not only from an environmental standpoint, but also from a financial standpoint.

We have reported before on a growing movement to divest from fossil fuels – now reaching over $5.2 trillion – but the question is where do you reinvest that money? What is the new petrol?

The minerals used to make batteries are obvious contenders, but there are a lot of different kinds of batteries using all different minerals. Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada is alone expected to double the global battery production over the next year and therefore, it could create a resource boom.

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Several automakers and battery makers accused of using cobalt sourced by child labor in Congo

child cobalt congo

Amnesty International and Afrewatch published a new investigative report (embedded below) explaining in details the global supply chain of cobalt and the use of child labor to source the mineral in Congo.

The report highlights the failure of certain electronics and electric car companies to ensure that the cobalt used in their batteries is not sourced using child labor. It names several automakers like Mercedes, VW and BYD, as well as several battery manufacturers known to supply automakers, like LG Chem (GM and Nissan). The report also goes after electronic giants Apple, Samsung and others.

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