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16 Jun 2020 | 11:15

Tesla to use Glencore cobalt in new Gigafactories

(Sharecast News) - Electric carmaker Tesla will be expanding its relationship with mining company Glencore and will use its cobalt in the new Gigafactories. The company is planning on using the cobalt from Glencore's mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to make lithium-ion batteries at Gigafactories in Berlin and Shanghai.

According to sources close to the matter the Glencore cobalt will also be used in other manufacturing sites that are yet to be announced, reported The Financial Times on Tuesday.

The electric car company already uses Glencore's cobalt in its Shanghai Gigafactory.

Glencore is the largest industrial supplier of cobalt in the world and could provide Tesla with up to 6,000 tons of cobalt a year under the long-term partnership.

The cobalt, which will come from Democratic Republic of Congo, is at the center of concerns for human rights groups as there are claims that the industry employs children.

Last week, Tesla defended its cobalt sourcing in a company report: "Because Tesla recognizes the higher risks of human rights issues within cobalt supply chains, particularly for child labor in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), we have made a significant effort to establish processes to remove these risks from our supply chain."

Tesla added that it reviews information provided by suppliers for "red flags and risks associated with ethical sourcing."

Nevertheless, child labor is one of many concerns regarding the extraction of cobalt which has been unders scrutiny for years.

There are also worries that the extraction involves illegal mining, human rights violations, corruption and it is understood that it is highly toxic and is causing birth defects in the workers' children.

Tesla is currently being sued along with Apple, Google, Microsoft and Dell for the deaths and injuries of child miners in the DRC in a landmark legal case that was launched by Congolese families late in 2019.

The lawsuit was filed in Washington by the human rights firm International Rights Advocates on behalf of 14 parents and children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The families argue that the minors were working illegally at mines owned by Glencore and Chinese firm Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt.
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