Tesla Cobalt Supplier Has Some Pretty Shady Business Practices

Sep 27, 2022 2 min read
Tesla Cobalt Supplier Has Some Pretty Shady Business Practices

This isn’t a good look…

It’s well-known that Elon Musk is a bit of a risk taker, but you probably don’t realize Tesla has ties to a billionaire who’s accused of corruption and human rights violations in Africa. The automaker also works with a Swiss company which admitted to manipulating oil prices for its benefit earlier this year.

See the outrageous amount a Tesla Model S owner was quoted for a replacement battery here.

The Epoch Times dug into Tesla’s ties to Glencore, a commodity trading and mining company based out of Switzerland which also has an oil and gas head office in London. As pointed out in the report, Glencore admitted to manipulating the oil market in May at the same time Americans paid dearly at the pump. The U.S. Department of Justice settled with the company, requiring it to pay $1.1 billion in fines and forfeitures. Some thought Glencore got off easy.

Tesla’s ties to Glencore doesn’t involve oil and gas but instead cobalt, a mineral necessary for the manufacture of electric car batteries. That’s where things get truly seedy. As you might already know, cobalt mines too often employ children in horrific conditions, damaging their health and the local environment. Glencore reportedly is supplying Tesla with at least 6,000 tons of cobalt a year, a number which might have to increase as Tesla aims to churn out 2 million EVs a year.

For its part, Tesla has stated it’s seeking to remove cobalt from its EV batteries, although that hasn’t happened quite yet. If it does find a way to successful wean itself off the mineral, Tesla would also sidestep entanglements with an industry which has a history of human rights abuses. Still, the automaker maintains it uses companies which safeguard humans involved in the mining process and which are otherwise ethical in their mining practices.

As Business & Human Rights Resource Centre points out, Tesla could be toying with fire purchasing cobalt from Glencore since the Swiss company works with Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler in its Democratic Republic of Congo mining operation. Gertler has been sanctioned from the U.S. financial system since 2017 thanks to the U.S. Department of the Treasury  leveling accusations of corruption. Legal experts seem split on what kind of risk Tesla is taking using an intermediary to work with Gertler.

This is one of the many reasons to be skeptical about just how “green” and ethical electric cars truly are. The process of extracting cobalt and other necessary minerals to make the batteries, not to mention the manufacturing process itself, come at a steep cost, one which seems to look worse as more is discovered.

Sources: The Epoch Times, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Catholic News Agency

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