What is happening with the artisanal cobalt miners of Katanga?
The DRC has 60 percent of the world’s cobalt supply—and cobalt, even more than lithium, is essential to electric car batteries. So it will have a growing real importance to the global economy--as well as a potentially outsized symbolic importance.
Activists and a handful of journalists have predictably started targeting the mineral. And to be sure, artisanal mining is a hard, dangerous way to make a living. But within the universe of possibilities available to the communities of southeastern Congo, it is far and away the best. With that income, they support families, set up businesses, pay for their health care and school fees, buy homes.  
I worry that in their zeal to “expose” the working condition of the miners, activists will drive the industry entirely into the hands of a few giant mining companies, depriving tens or hundreds of thousands of people of their livelihood.
The problem is that artisanal miners have no  meaningful representation within the Congo and no constituency of supporters in the West. Their interests and concerns can be, and typically have been, disregarded, to disastrous consequence. In 2010, misguided activists promoted a conflict minerals law that has, in the regions affected, more than doubled the rate of infant mortality.
So what can be done? What resources can be mobilized within a short enough time frame to ensure that these miners and their families have a say in their future?  As activists and corporate interests decide how to develop responsible cobalt supply chain systems, how do the rest of us insure they do not ignore the voice of those at the bottom of the pyramid--the very people they mean to help?

Following is an active list of links (beginning September 2017) to articles and pieces about cobalt in the DRC. A preliminary repository of information: