Cobalt is the kind of resource that people don’t think about much until it isn’t around – which is what happened in the late 1970s. At that time, a rebellion in Zaire cut off access to the largest reserves of the metal, which is used in a host of products, including aircraft engines, turbines, and cutting tools. The shortage caused cobalt prices to rise 380 percent. To cope with the drop in supply and the uptick in price, firms unveiled a host of strategies. Mines in Zambia and…

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