The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has declared cobalt, coltan and germanium as “strategic” mineral resources. It has imposed a three-fold increase on royalties (a tax) for the minerals that are used in the product in the process of smartphones.
DR Congo is the world’s largest producer of cobalt; it produces around 60% of global cobalt supply. The country’s government imposed the tax hike despite opposition from leading cobalt mining companies who claim the tax hike will deter further investment. Global demand for cobalt has increased over the years, as the mineral is a major component of lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones and electric cars.
According to a report by Quartz, “DR Congo’s dominance of cobalt supply has proven a cash-cow for the government as the surge in demand for the mineral has had a knock-on effect on its price.”
Further reading on qz.com