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This Congo Cobalt story is going viral on social media right now

On Sunday night, actor James Woods posted a link on his Twitter account to an article from the Daily Mail in the UK that covers the horrors of cobalt mining in the Congo. It highlights the need for Ethical Cobalt as we have covered here extensively. It’s now Monday morning and this tweet has been liked almost 7,000 times and retweeted almost 5,000 times. Even though this article is from August 2017, this article has become newly viral thanks to James Woods sharing it with his over 2 million followers.

What’s in the article?

This article highlights the plight of the estimated 40,000 children working in the Katanga cobalt mines in Congo – yes, children! These mines are heavily polluted and toxic dust burns their eyes, and they run risk of skin diseases and lung conditions known as cobalt lung. At least 80 children a year are dying in these mines! For something that is going into an environmental solution such as EV cars, it is heartbreaking to learn in the article that the Katanga region is among the 10 most polluted regions in the world as a result of their unethical mining.

In short, the article puts a very dirty slant to the ‘clean’ energy car crusade – must be remedied by Ethical Cobalt or this risks tarnishing EV’s forever. Attempts have been made to try and remove Cobalt from batteries but those have failed or solutions are many years away. To keep up with the ever-increasing global cobalt demand, pressure is mounting for ethical cobalt which requires commitment and investment.

Who is James Woods?

James Woods is one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood. Some of his memorable roles include Lester Diamond in Casino, Michael Kitz in Contact, and Max in Once Upon a Time in America, in addition to his many voice appearances as himself on Family Guy.

A former Democrat, then Independent and now recently Republican, Woods is a vocal supporter of the current US President, Donald Trump, which has led to him having his accounts de-activated by the social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, as has so often happened to other Republican commentators. As his accounts are reinstated his following only continues to grow, now counting over 2 million followers. At this point, he is one of the most influential Republican-leaning commentators on social media.

Where could this go?

This new virality might put the very important issue of the need for Ethical Cobalt back on the forefront. This issue must be addressed before the rapid increase in global cobalt demand that is coming. If the right pressure is mounted in different areas, then necessary investments and commitments will be made to mine cobalt from areas such as Europe and North America instead of Congo. A viral tweet such as this one by James Woods is likely to be viewed by the US President himself, having already been retweeted by other influential social media commentators, such as journalist, author and filmmaker Mike Cernovich.

We will be monitoring this situation as it unfolds and will update this article as it develops. For live updates to your inbox, sign-up for our newsletter.

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