Departures Podcast with Christoph Vogel, author of ‘Conflict Minerals, Inc. – War, Profit and White Saviourism in Eastern Congo’

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With the global economy going through an unprecedented energy transition away from fossil fuels, demand is exploding for critical minerals essential for batteries and electrification, such as copper, cobalt, lithium, and rare earths.

Accompanying this demand is a new geopolitical playing field, most commonly dominated by China, taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In his excellent authoritative new book, “Conflict Minerals, Inc.: War, Profit and White Saviourism in Eastern Congo,” expert researcher Christoph N. Vogel unpacks the complex causal relationships between so-called “digital minerals” and the corruption and violent conflicts which have radically disrupted stability in the region.

In his conversation with Robert Amsterdam during this episode, Vogel draws from a richly detailed history of colonialism to the formation of the current state to shine a harsh light on failed efforts by Western NGOs and governments, pointing toward new thinking about the sorts of standards which could be implemented that may be more effective in developing safety and stability for the communities living near these incredibly lucrative mineral reserves.