The demand for cobalt far out paces its production. Lithium cobalt oxide cathodes consist of 60% cobalt and offer unbeatable energy density. For the Dominican Republic of the Congo (DRC), cobalt is a global political pawn. Manufacturers of rechargeable Lithium-ion battery storage or manufacturers requiring these batteries are locking in cobalt delivery now for the long-term to take advantage of the current dip in the cobalt market. Limits of available cobalt may cause hording or price increases; therefore reduced digital-device and electric-vehicle release speeds and speed for adoption.\nPrecarious and precious cobalt landscape\nSwitzerland\u2019s Glencore with $58 billion in market share is the world\u2019s largest commodity producer with mines in 50 countries and the prime cobalt producer in the DRC. Composites of cobalt can be coupled with other mineral deposits when they come out of the ground. The DRC has a limit on uranium exports that prevents some composites of uranium with cobalt ore being exported. Glencore\u2019s construction of an ion exchange plant would remove uranium from the ore thus allowing more cobalt supply availability for export. Unsuccessfully trying to manipulate and control its most prize commodity, the DRC Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu Labilo, directed Glencore to suspend construction of its $25 million ion exchange plant and in a fit of insanity, ordered suspension of all cobalt concentrate exports. Thankfully, he came to some sense and retracted his last order the very next day.\nCutting out the political middleman, Apple is reportedly negotiating and signing agreements directly with mining companies like Glencore who counts Apple as their top customer. While the cobalt market is down, Apple is looking to shore up sustainable delivery now while the price is right to improve on-time delivery and bypass current and future DRC political issues. Apple has decided to forego its moral outrage over the use and abuse of child labor in the DRC mines in favor of the bottom-line. In fairness, Apple\u2019s thought may be to exact more influence through direct contracts with Glencore and other DRC mines for worker condition improvement. If I were Apple, that is what I would do. \u00a0\nSeems doubtful though because both Taiwan\u2019s and Mainland China\u2019s infamous \u201cFoxconn\u201d facilities manufacture and assemble the majority of the iPhone parts truly defined by the label \u201cDesigned by Apple in California Assembled in China\u201d. China has long been criticized for its treatment of its people and been \u201ccriticized for more human rights violations than one can count.\u201d Back in 2010, as many as 18 Chinese Foxconn employee\u2019s suicides drew global media attention.\nIn the Trump administration\u2019s attempt to bring back manufacturing jobs from China to the US, a Foxconn Wisconsin tax incentive plan viewed as the largest in US history, was signed, sealed and delivered\u2026or so everyone thought. In exchange for more than $4.5 billion in government incentives, Foxconn promised to supply a high-tech manufacturing hub paying as much as $23 per hour to a possible 13,000 as early as 2022.\nUnfortunately, so far, the Wisconsin plant\u2019s starting pay was $14 an hour with no benefits and only part-time, temps and interns have been hired from a local technical college. Last year, at Foxconn China, it was reported that Foxconn workers made an average of less than $400.00 per month. Why would the Chinese pay US wages? Was China looking for US cooperation with a better US trade agreement?\nGigafactories for lithium-ion online by 2028\nChina\u2019s Tenke Fungurume mine also located in the DRC contributes almost exclusively to China\u2019s electric vehicles growth. China\u2019s Molybdenum worth $12.4 billion and third in market share is the majority holder. Tenke Fungurume has one of the largest cobalt deposits in the world. Many European and Asian manufacturers in need of Lithium-ion batteries are turning to China for cheap refined cobalt.\nOwning your complete supply chain from cradle to delivery creates production efficiency and cost control. By owning Tenke Fungurume in the DRC, China can control the global supply for Lithium-ion battery storage therefore dominating the digital-device and electric-vehicle market. BYD Co., a Chinese company, is constructing what some are saying is the world\u2019s largest vehicle-battery factory next year in China. Tesla, partnered with Panasonic, holding this prestigious honor in 2018 producing 22GWh and located in Nevada. Tesla was said to have begun the Lithium-Ion battery swell.\nWith the absence of any other proven battery storage technology, the race is on. Of the top 10 Gigafactories in production, most are located in China. According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence early 2019, the number of Lithium-ion Gigafactories to be online by 2028 surged from 22 to 68. \u201cQuality and efficiency exceed quantity\u201d \u2013 so say the top electric-vehicle manufacturers. Those plants forecasting expansion plans along with providing predictive quality assurance and product delivery have taken center stage. Can manufacturer\u2019s expectations be realized? Does cheap labor mean poor quality?\nSo what does all of this mean to you and me? The Chinese power structures including the Chinese Government who control the money typically cut prices and hoard supply to gain control over markets. China can treat their workers however and pay whatever they choose. For many years China has been willing to buy and hoard materials to dry up supply and manipulate the global supply market; dominating markets \u201cat all costs\u201d therefore eliminating and sometimes crippling economic growth of their competitors, the US being one.\nEarly spring of 2008 before \u201cBlack December,\u201d the US downturn, China bought as much scrap steel they could find and hoarded it. Scrap steel is a major source of construction and parts in vehicles among a thousand other things. Cobalt is a major mineral in Lithium-ion battery storage needed for powering digital-devices and electric-vehicles. Remember the mortgage industry debacle. China took market advantage through their power to buy in anticipation of the downturn, hoping to cripple the US economy.\nTrump\u2019s trade policy of additional tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods is only one US strategic move to help slow down China. As of 2019, economists state China is the number one economy over the US. The US is losing economically to China as they dominate supply and demand.