The Ghost in Your Phone (Throwback) : Throughline It's hot. A mother works outside, a baby strapped to her back. The two of them breathe in toxic dust, day after day. And they're just two of thousands, cramped so close together it's hard to move, all facing down the mountain of cobalt stone.Cobalt mining is one of the world's most dangerous jobs. And it's also one of the most essential: cobalt is what powers the batteries in your smartphone, your laptop, the electric car you felt good about buying. More than three-quarters of the world's cobalt supply lies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose abundant resources have drawn greed and grifters for centuries. Today on the show: the fight for control of those resources, and for the dignity of the people who produce them.

The Ghost in Your Phone (Throwback)

The Ghost in Your Phone (Throwback)

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JUNIOR KANNAH/AFP via Getty Images
Dela wa Monga, an artisanal miner, holds a cobalt stone at the Shabara artisanal mine near Kolwezi on October 12, 2022. - Some 20,000 people work at Shabara, in shifts of 5,000 at a time. Congo produced 72 percent of the worlds cobalt last year, according to Darton Commodities.
JUNIOR KANNAH/AFP via Getty Images

It's hot. A mother works outside, a baby strapped to her back. The two of them breathe in toxic dust, day after day. And they're just two of thousands, cramped so close together it's hard to move, all facing down the mountain of cobalt stone.Cobalt mining is one of the world's most dangerous jobs. And it's also one of the most essential: cobalt is what powers the batteries in your smartphone, your laptop, the electric car you felt good about buying. More than three-quarters of the world's cobalt supply lies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose abundant resources have drawn greed and grifters for centuries. Today on the show: the fight for control of those resources, and for the dignity of the people who produce them.

This episode received a citation from the Overseas Press Club Lowell Thomas Award for best radio, audio, or podcast coverage of international affairs.