Bloomberg followed the journey of the tungsten ore, called wolframite, which is mined in the Amazon jungle by the rebel FARC group before being processed in Pennsylvannia and shipped to Austria.
Volkswagen Group spokesman Christoph Adomat told Bloomberg the manufacturer worked hard to avoid buying materials from dodgy suppliers.
“We take all information concerning possible infringements very seriously,” Adomat said.
“Plansee is a company that supplies Volkswagen with small quantities of tungsten components such as wires for welding or balancing weights.”
BMW Group spokesman Frank Wienstroth echoed VW’s concerns, though said the small amount of tungsten used in its vehicles was largely inconsequential.
“These few grams out of the billions of tons of raw materials passing through the BMW supply chain are of no practical relevance,” Wienstroth said.
Tungsten is a hard, rare metal renowned for its robustness. It has the highest melting point of all the elements.