A unit of Berkshire Hathaway denied a report on Sunday that it reached an agreement to allow extraction of lithium from its geothermal wells in California, a project that could offer US carmakers and battery producers a secure supply of the metal.
"There is no agreement in place with anybody to allow extraction of lithium or any other minerals from the geothermal wells in California," Jessi Strawn, a spokeswoman for Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which is majority-owned by Warren Buffett's conglomerate, said in an emailed response to a Reuters query.
The Financial Times earlier had reported, citing people familiar with the discussions, that the venture has been in talks to supply Tesla with lithium, a component for batteries to power electric cars.
Berkshire Hathaway's geothermal wells could produce up to 90 000 t/y of lithium worth $1.5-billion at current prices, the report said, citing a fundraising document.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside normal business hours.