Home FreewheelingWeekend Ruminations Weekend Ruminations of an over wrought mind – 9th July 2023

Weekend Ruminations of an over wrought mind – 9th July 2023

by Venky

(Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash)

The footprints of time wait for neither the laggard nor the sprightly. The most precious amongst things irretrievable, the passage of time is bereft of tradeoffs and opportunity costs. Ruminations and reflections mirror the escape of this immutable wonder. As we introspect over time lapsed in seven daily chunks, here’s encapsulating the stories, songs, and sensibilities of a week gone by:

Article/Longform Article/Blogpost of the Week:

Building a Responsible Cobalt Supply Chain – Matt Howard & Stephen Gifford in Issue No.7 of Faraday Insights published by The Faraday Institution

(Image Credit: mining.com)

Elucidating on the perils and pitfalls of ‘artisanal’ mining practiced by the populace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Howard and Gifford emphasis the importance of building and maintaining a resilient, safe and durable supply chain for the mining of Cobalt, a mineral whose importance has been enhanced manifold as a result of its formidable contribution to “greening” the global economy. The global production of Cobalt has seen a burgeoning spike from 38,000 tonnes per annum during the period 1970-2010 to a jaw dropping 140,000 tonnes per annum since 2010.

The maximum concentration of this precious mineral is buried in the soil of DRC and mining for Cobalt is conducted amongst others by a low-tech, labour intensive extraction process called Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM). Allegations of child labour in the extraction processes have racked the reputation of the DRC as have the claims of being held ransom to China, which is the single largest importer of Cobalt from DRC.

The article elaborates on various efforts undertaken to make the extraction process safer and transparent. The Cobalt Industry Responsible Assessment Framework (CIRAF) and the Global Battery Alliance have taken significant strides in this area.

Building a Responsible Cobalt Supply Chain (faraday.ac.uk)

Song of the Week

“Highway Star” by Deep Purple

(Image Credit: progarchives.com)

Conceived during a bus journey in 1971, “Highway Star” is one of Deep Purple’s most effervescent and fast numbers. The guitar solo interspersing the lyrics is arguably one of the all-time great musical feats in the annals of rock music. Legend has it that an intrepid reporter queried the band within the bus, the modus operandi for writing songs. Lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore immediately whipped up his acoustic guitar and began letting loose a barrage of riffs that represented the single “G” being played over repeatedly. Not to be left behind, vocalist Ian Gillian commenced composing a song over the din being created by Blackmore! Before one could even attempt to grasp the mayhem, “Highway Star” was born!

Podcast/Talk of the Week:

Best of FT Behind the Money: Tracking the Mysterious Rise of a UAE Company

(Image Credit: stitcher.com)

International Holding Company (IHC), an entity operating from the United Arab Emirates has been in the news of late, courtesy its meteoric rise. With a share price that has jumped a stratospheric 40,000 percent and with a market valuation that presently stands at a staggering $240 billion, IHC boasts as its investments some of the top blue-chip companies in the world. But who is this new blazing kid on the block? Why is it that most of IHC’s operations are shrouded in mystery. The Financial Times’ Middle East editor, Andrew England and host Michela Tindera attempt to unravel the secret behind IHC’s success:

Best Of: Tracking the mysterious rise of a UAE company – Behind the Money | Podcast on Spotify

Movie/Show/Series of the Week

(Image Credit: maspmag.com)

This haunting, poignant and emotional film about the tortured genius that was Anthony Bourdain, is one of the best in its genre on Netflix. Highlighting the eccentricities, excellence and enigma of one of the most popular figures of our time, the movie directed by Academy Winning Director Morgan Neville will linger in the minds of the viewer long after the curtains have come down.

Book of the Week

Volt Rush: The Winners and Losers In The Race To Go Green – Henry Sanderson

(Image Credit: Simonandschuster.net)

The world is witnessing a chaotic scramble for the ownership and exploitation of thirty minerals that are as rare as any natural resources can be. Unimaginatively termed “rare earth minerals”, this family of minerals has the potential to either make or mar the world’s grandiose ambitions to battle climate change and go green.

Three such vital minerals are Cobalt, Nickel and Lithium. Primarily used to “green” the transportation sector and as raw materials in the manufacture of electronic goods, these three minerals are indispensable for any nation hoping to spearhead the decarbonisation movement. Journalist and author Henry Sanderson blows open the lid on the dark side of the ecological externalities involved in the extraction processes of these minerals.

Whether it be the employ of child labour in the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (“ASM”) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the spewing of millions of tonnes of waste into the seas of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, the race for the rare earth minerals is run on a road paved with moral and ethical dilemmas. In the eye of the storm is China, a nation that has cornered greater than 80% of the rare earth minerals market by resorting to procedures that are not even euphemisms for credible shenanigans!

Quote of the Week

“Our labour preserves us from three great evils — weariness, vice, and want.” – Voltaire

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