Cobalt is a shiny metal that is a byproduct of the mining of nickel and copper. It’s atomic symbol is Co and atomic number is 27. On the African continent, cobalt is found primarily in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia. The DRC is the largest producer of cobalt in the world, producing an estimated 60% of the world’s supply. It also has the largest reserves of cobalt with about 50% of the world’s reserve of cobalt. Cobalt is used in two key sectors, military and industry. In the military sector it is vital for the functioning of jet engines and in the commercial industry sector it is critical for rechargeable batteries.

  • Identified global terrestrial reserves of cobalt amount to an estimated 25 million tons
  • There is enough land reserves of cobalt to last 100 years
  • DR Congo produces more cobalt than all other countries combined
  • 49% of Cobalt demand is driven by batteries in cell phones and electric cars
  • One third of all cars in the world could be electric in 20 years
  • About 45% of the cobalt consumed in the United States was used in superalloys, mainly in aircraft gas turbine engines
  • China is the leading supplier of cobalt to the US but China gets much of its cobalt from Congo-Kinshasa
  • China is the world leading consumer of cobalt


No cobalt, no Tesla?

Child Labor and Forced Labor Reports: Democratic Republic of the Congo
United States Department of Labor
Click here to read report!

Cobalt Data
United States Geological Survey
Click here to read (PDF)

Blood Sweat and Batteries
Two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, an essential ingredient in our smartphones and electric cars, comes from one of the planet’s poorest countries. All too often it is mined by children.
By Vivienne Walt and Sebastian Meyer
Click here to watch!

Is My Phone Powered By Child Labor
Amnesty International
Click here to read!

Industry giants fail to tackle child labour allegations in cobalt battery supply chains
Amnesty International
Click here to read!

Child Miner Rescue Program

Friends of the Congo works in partnership with L’association Comité Afro Européen  RDC in the old Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo to rescue children involved in mining of cobalt and other minerals.

The project is located on the Fungurume – Kolwezi axe in the mines of TRABECO, KAFWAYA, ZAKEYO, KIMILOMBE, POSTOLO, KANSALAWILA and DISELE.

Who Are They?
The children are found in the hundreds between the ages of 6 and 17 years old. The mine for minerals for two main reasons: one is to seek money and the second is because of lack of other activities for them to partake in.

The presence of young children in mining sites exposes them to the risks of loss of schooling, illness or even death due, among other things, to dangerous working conditions and the toxic effects of certain minerals. Parents and authorities feel challenged by this phenomenon but cannot find a solution due to limits of the appropriate means.

What We Do
The project consists of addressing the issues that lead children into the mines by paying for their schooling, supervising the unschooled and providing access to trades and training in masonry, electricity, and hairdressing. In addition, we occupy the free time of the children with recreational activities (libraries, settlements, etc.) and engage their families with income-generating activities.

Should you wish to make a financial contribution to support the Child Miner Rescue Program, click here!
Contact us at or call Ph: 202-584-6512 to learn more about the program.


Click here to help us raise funds to enroll child miners in school!