The Democratic Republic of Congo refuses exportation of raw minerals outside the country.
There has been a lot of talk about climate change and what the West especially, will do to combat pollution all over the world. The COP26, UN climate conference held in Glasgow did not disappoint with leaders from all over the world stating, what they have done and what they will do to help the crisis.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eve Bazaiba told Swiss Ambassador Franz Perrez in an informal meeting in Glasgow, on 5th November that the company Glencore, will no longer be allowed to export raw minerals it produces in the DRC. Last year about 70% of cobalt came from the DRC alone and it continues to be in demand, due to the fact that it is a key component in making batteries that power most electric vehicles which is a welcomed alternative to using harmful petrol and diesel cars.
Bazaiba told Geneva Solutions that, “Cobalt cannot be exported, transformed and manufactured into batteries outside the country, while we are reduced to selling our teeth to afford a green vehicle. “Furthermore, I have asked for Switzerland to convince countries, especially the industrialised G20 members, which represent 80 per cent of the world’s GDP, to recognise that it is industrialisation that has brought pollution … and they have to pay for their pollution.” Subsequently it has been announced that in the UK, the government will ban the sale of new petrol
and diesel cars by 2030 (gov.uk).
The use of electric vehicles will help reduce carbon emissions worldwide, but this is at the cost of mine workers in the DRC having to work in poor and dangerous working conditions in mines to retrieve cobalt, and the poor pay means that these workers are suffering for the West’s gain. The refusal to export raw minerals outside of the DRC, is a great start but it seems that more needs to be done to have a better cohesive partnership which benefits the country that is rich in these precious raw minerals.