Berkshire’s lithium venture may supply U.S. automakers, including Tesla -FT

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Photo by Rick Wilking, Reuters.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc has signed an agreement to allow extraction of lithium from its geothermal wells in California, a project that could offer U.S. carmakers and battery producers a secure supply of the metal, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The venture has been in talks to supply Tesla Inc with lithium, a component for batteries to power electric cars, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the company.

Berkshire Hathaway’s geothermal wells could produce up to 90,000 tonnes of lithium a year worth $1.5 billion at current prices, the report said, citing a fundraising document.

“We see a lot of interest in getting North American supply as automakers start to get further into electric vehicles,” the FT quoted Eric Besseling, a vice president at BHE Renewables, as saying.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co and Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside normal business hours.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker).