Tesla plans to continue to supply cobalt with Glencore to supply its factories in Shanghai and Berlin, a decision which is the subject of some controversy.
© Unsplash / Vlad Tchompalov
Tesla should continue to supply cobalt with the same company, tells the Financial Times in a recent article on the subject. The automaker has signed a new agreement with Glencore, a swiss company whose activity focuses on trading, brokering and the extraction of raw materials.
An increased dependence on the democratic Republic of the Congo
In this way, Tesla is strengthening its dependence on the democratic Republic of the Congo. This mass in the country, this mineral is controversial, because its extraction is the subject of many conflicts for several years. It was also the fact of the work of children in the region —which is still certainly the case in some areas. More than 20% of the ore is still extracted in artisanal mines, dangerous to bare hands.
60% of the world production of cobalt comes from the democratic Republic of the Congo, a country where Glencore is one of only two miners on the list certified by the Responsible Mineral Initiative. This last is intended to ensure that the cobalt from the sectors involved in its extraction is produced ethically and responsibly. It currently has more than 380 member companies around the world —including Tesla Motors.
In addition to the fact that he is a member of this initiative, Tesla has indicated several times that it wanted its suppliers to exploit the minerals that are not products of conflict. The automobile firm claims to ensure that these latter, like the cobalt, does not benefit the small groups that are armed that are present in the democratic Republic of the Congo.
The cobalt collected by Glencore for Tesla will be used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries for the factories in Shanghai and Berlin, a place still under construction for the moment.
With this new agreement, Tesla is the business of Glencore, because the price of cobalt shows a decline since a few years.
A few months ago, the big names in the sector of the tech such as Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft —but also Tesla, have been targeted by a lawsuit brought by a firm defence of human rights. It aimed to shed light on the work of the miners in the mines of cobalt, of children whose daily wage does not exceed, sometimes not more than two dollars.