Finally, the electric vehicle seems to be attracting the attention of the mass market. Sales have been brisk lately for many EV models, such as Tesla’s Model 3 and Audi’s e-Tron, as “range anxiety” begins to disappear. That’s the good news for EV makers. The bad news is that a key component of the EV’s battery – cobalt – is in increasingly short supply. The reason is that cobalt is mined from one of the most politically unstable nations on earth: the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Cobalt a hard silvery-white magnetic metal found in small deposits in ore. To extract the pure cobalt, it must be put through a reductive smelting process. It’s also not easy to find. The Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly called Zaire, is a south-central African nation that’s highly politically unstable, lacking in infrastructure and rife with corruption.
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