This is a key element in the manufacture of the batteries needed for electric cars and solar/wind farms. It's mined in the Congo, and like "blood diamonds" the locals use child slaves to get it:
When Sky News investigated the Katanga mines it found Dorsen, working near a little girl called Monica, who was four, on a day of relentless rainfall.
The article is pretty sickening, but includes this tidbit:Dorsen was hauling heavy sacks of rocks from the mine surface to a growing stack 60ft away. A full sack was lifted on to Dorsen’s head and he staggered across to the stack. A brutish overseer stood over him, shouting and raising his hand to threaten a beating if he spilt any.
The planned switch to clean energy vehicles has led to an extraordinary surge in demand. While a smartphone battery uses no more than 10 grams of refined cobalt, an electric car needs 15kg (33lb).The wages of "green" energy: exploitation of 4 year olds.
And subsidies. Elon Musk has pulled down $5B in government subsidies. That's our money, going to fuel what's happening in Congo.