German carmaker BMW is exploring ways to improve working conditions at cobalt mines in Congo.
Cobalt is a hard, shiny metal that is often mixed with other metals. It is very rare but extremely important to the production of batteries.
Wireless electronics, such as mobile phones, currently use most of the world's cobalt. But a single electric car requires about one-thousand times more cobalt than a mobile phone.
Carmakers are hoping to increase sales of electric cars but are struggling to get the metal.
The world's largest known supplies of cobalt are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
BMW said the project is seeking ways to improve working and living conditions in places where the metal is mined through manual labor. The company is working on the project with chemical company BASF, battery maker Samsung SDI and German development agency GIZ.
The project will work on one trial mine within the next three years, BMW said. The company will not directly buy cobalt from the mine, it said. Instead, the mine will be operated by a local cooperative.
BMW said, if effective, the measures could be used to improve systemic problems at other mines as well.
Manual operations are responsible for about 20 percent of the cobalt mined in the DRC. Industrial mining operations account for the rest.
But many companies involved in both kinds of cobalt mining have been accused of environmental, health and safety and human rights violations.
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You can work on more than one goal at once but only have one goal per area, to balance them out.
宝马称，该项目正在寻求方法以提升工作和生活环境。只要需要人工开采钴的地方都是改善环境的对象 。该公司正在跟巴斯夫化学公司、电池制造商三星SDI以及德国发展机构GIZ合作开展该项目 。
宝马称，该项目将在未来3年间在一个矿区试行运作。宝马还表示其不会直接才该矿区购置钴 。相反，这个矿区会由当地某合作商来运作 。