LONDON/TOKYO (Reuters) – Panasonic Corp (6752.T) said it was unable to determine how much of the cobalt used in batteries it makes for Tesla cars comes from Cuba, a country subject to U.S. sanctions, and that it had suspended relations with a Canadian supplier as a result of its concerns.
The Japanese electronics maker, the exclusive supplier of batteries to Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), made the comments following questions from Reuters about whether the batteries contained Cuban cobalt.
Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that some of the cobalt that Panasonic uses to make Tesla’s batteries is mined in Cuba by Canadian supplier Sherritt International Corp (S.TO).
Panasonic said it was unable to tell how much cobalt sourced from Cuba via its Canadian supplier ended up in the batteries it provided to the U.S. market “due to co-mingling of sources by its suppliers in several phases of manufacturing processes”.
“Panasonic has chosen to suspend its relationship with its Canadian supplier,” a spokeswoman said, without naming the supplier. She added that Panasonic had used cobalt from the Canadian supplier for batteries used in the Tesla Model S and Model X, but only after February this year.