The world is desperate for cobalt. It fuels the digital economy and powers everything from cell phones to clean energy. But this “demon metal,” this “blood mineral,” has a horrific present and troubled history.
Then there is the town in northern Canada, also called Cobalt. It created a model of resource extraction a hundred years ago — theft of Indigenous lands, rape of the earth, exploitation of workers, enormous wealth generation — that has made Toronto the mining capital of the world and given the mining industry a blueprint for resource extraction that has been exported everywhere.
Charlie Angus unearths the history of the town and shows how it contributed to Canada’s mining dominance. He connects the town to present-day Congo, with its cobalt production and misery, to horrendous mining practices in South America and demonstrates that global mining is as Canadian as hockey.
Charlie Angus has served as the NDP Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay since 2004. In 1985 he formed the Juno-nominated alt-country band Grievous Angels. He became involved in politics through his organizing efforts to stop the Adams Mine garbage proposal and numerous plans to import PCBs to Northern Ontario. He is author/co-author of five books on Northern Ontario life and culture including We Lived a Life and Then Some and Mirrors of Stone.