Tesla to continue sourcing cobalt from the same company, says Financial times in a recent article on the subject. The automaker has signed a new agreement with Glencore, a Swiss company focused on the trading, brokerage and extraction of raw materials.

Increased dependence on the Democratic Republic of the Congo

In this way, Tesla strengthens its dependence on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Present in mass in the country, this mineral is controversial, since its extraction has been the subject of numerous conflicts for several years. It has also been the result of child labor in the region – which is certainly still the case in some areas. More than 20% of the ore is still extracted in artisanal mines, dangerous, with bare hands.

60% of global cobalt production is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country where Glencore is one of only two miners on the list certified by the Responsible Mineral Initiative. The latter aims to ensure that the cobalt from the industries involved in its extraction is produced in an ethical and responsible manner. Currently, it has more than 380 member companies worldwide – including Tesla Motors.

In addition to being a member of the initiative, Tesla has said on several occasions that it wants its suppliers to mine non-conflict minerals. The car company claims to make sure that the latter, like cobalt, do not benefit armed groups present in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Cobalt collected by Glencore for Tesla will be used to make batteries lithium-ion intended for factories Shanghai and Berlin, a place still under construction at the moment.

With this new agreement, Tesla is doing the business of Glencore because the price of cobalt has been declining for a few years.

A few months ago, big names in the tech sector like Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft – but also Tesla – were the target of a lawsuit launched by a human rights firm. This aimed to highlight the work of miners in cobalt mines, children whose daily wages sometimes do not exceed more than two dollars.