The photographic reportage “Bloody batteries”, by Luca Catalano Gonzaga, on Der Spiegel Online.

A photo who documents a new form of colonialism in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), by Luca Catalano Gonzaga, is published on Der Spiegel Online.

A new form of colonialism is threatening the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country where the governor of the province of Katanga has made 14 million hectares of land available to foreign investors. More than half of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Katanga region, in Southeastern country. Cobalt and other strategic minerals, such as lithium and nickel, are present in the new rechargeable lithium ion batteries that power a new generation of electric cars, but also the smartphones, tablets and computers that we use every day.

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Kolwezi mining district, Lualaba province, DRC. Husband and wife, both are artisanal miners involved in extracting cobalt near the village of Kabamba. The average Congo worker makes around $10 a month, while a cobalt miner can make anywhere from $10 to $50 a week. However, compared to other activities this amount is not worth 12 hours of labour.