Cobalt Blue is THE trending colour of 2023. You can see it everywhere. Clothes, Bags and even in interior design. Its vibrant blue colour is unlike anything else.Cobalt blue pigments are known for their intense and vibrant blue color. They have been used since the early 19th century and are highly valued by artists.
But to make this beautiful blue, you need to dig deep into the earths crust to get the Cobalt. Most Cobalt is mined as by-product from mining copper and nickel. 70% of the worlds cobalt is mind in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The majority of all cobalt mined in the DRC comes from large scale mines that are mostly operated by large-scale mining companies. The rest of the Cobalt in the DRC is mind by small-scale mining where independent miners use their own resources to extract the mineral. Both types of mining could potentially involve child labor, unsafe work environments, crime and corruption.
Although they work hard to better themselves (or so they say), as paintmaker I don't want to contribute to possible Human Rights Violation.
There are some mines in Morocco and Canada who mine for cobalt only. Not as a simple by product, bus as their main products for pigments. These mines are under strict control by 3rd parties. One of my sources of pigments has send me a document with a statement from their supplier:
We are aware of our responsibility for the environment, health and safety and the observance of human rights. For these reasons, no conflict materials, as defined by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act are used in our cobalt pigments. The Dodd-Frank Act relates specifically to tin, tantalum, tungsten, columbite, gold and their derivatives.
The producer has confirmed us that to produce Cobalt Pigment only cobalt raw materials are used which do not originate from African mines. The cobalt salt raw materials are from Europe and no Child Labor is used in the production of this product.
We are incredibly happy to obtain such an important document. This gives us the confirmation we need to keep making beautiful paints, without a guilty feeling!