The Global Race to Mine the Metal of the Future

Eric Krupke and

Patricia Willens, Marc Georges and


In the high-stakes competition to dominate the business of clean energy, the Democratic Republic of Congo is a major arena: The country is the source of more than two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, a key component of electric-car batteries.

In recent years, China has established a strong presence in Congo, while the United States has lost ground. We went to the African country to understand how that happened.


Dionne Searcey, a correspondent for The New York Times.

A mine for cobalt and copper in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Countries rich in cobalt, lithium and other raw materials needed for batteries are suddenly playing the role of oil giants.
Ashley Gilbertson

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Dionne Searcey contributed reporting.

The Daily is made by Lisa Tobin, Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Larissa Anderson, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, M.J. Davis Lin, Dan Powell, Dave Shaw, Sydney Harper, Robert Jimison, Mike Benoist, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Kaitlin Roberts, Rachelle Bonja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Anita Badejo, Rob Szypko, Elisheba Ittoop, Chelsea Daniel, Mooj Zadie, Patricia Willens, Rowan Niemisto, Jody Becker, Rikki Novetsky and John Ketchum.

Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Paula Szuchman, Cliff Levy, Lauren Jackson, Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani, Sofia Milan, Desiree Ibekwe, Wendy Dorr, Elizabeth Davis-Moorer, Jeffrey Miranda, Renan Borelli and Maddy Masiello.

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