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Samsung trains 1,500 Congolese cobalt miners in eco-friendly practices

Miners take part in a four-day training course on health and safety, environmental management, protective equipment and cooperative management processes as part of the “Cobalt for Development” project. (Samsung Electronics)
Miners take part in a four-day training course on health and safety, environmental management, protective equipment and cooperative management processes as part of the “Cobalt for Development” project. (Samsung Electronics)


Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDI said Friday that they have begun training more than 1,500 miners from 12 mining cooperatives in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo, this month to supply cobalt in a more environmentally friendly manner. The project, “Cobalt for Development,” also aims to promote safe working conditions and the well-being of local communities.

Through the project -- a cross-industry initiative of Samsung Electronics, Samsung SDI, BMW, BASF and Volkswagen -- these companies will educate more than 1,500 miners on how to mine cobalt while minimizing occupational and environmental risks by mid-2021.

“For our e-mobility strategy, sustainable and responsible sourcing of raw materials is of utmost importance. In this regard, cobalt plays a vital role, despite a decreasing amount of the raw material in newer generations of batteries for electric vehicles,” said Ullrich Gereke, head of procurement strategy with Volkswagen Group, which sources EV batteries from Samsung SDI.

On-site coaching will begin in the upcoming months to support technical improvements in occupational safety, environmental management and compliance with the laws at mine sites.

Since September of last year the project has helped more than 1,800 residents living in the mining region of Kisote, Uganda, and neighboring villages by building new schools and renovating old ones. Also, the project provided vocational training courses for women as well as training in farming and literacy skills.

By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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