NCAR researchers find alarming pollution in Africa
Researchers at NCAR used satellites to monitor emissions from cobalt mining in Africa and found nearby communities are being polluted.
BOULDER, Colorado — That smartphone you use, the electric vehicle you drive and your laptop all rely on lithium-ion batteries.
The material inside those batteries is cobalt, much of which is mined in Africa. New research out of Boulder suggests that mining for cobalt is also polluting parts of Africa.
According to the Cobalt Institute, in 2022, 73% of the world's supply of cobalt was mined in Africa's Copperbelt, a region which straddles the border of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the US Bureau of Mines and the US Geological survey, Cobalt production in that area increased about 600% between 1990 and 2021.
The question: Did that increase in production mean an increase in pollution?