January 20, 2019 / 6:19 PM / 6 months ago

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

Jan 20 (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 here, 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)

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