By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen
COPENHAGEN, March 24 (Reuters) – Mineral exploration company KoBold Metals, backed by billionaires including Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, said on Thursday it would start drilling in Greenland for crucial materials used in electric vehicles.
KoBold, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to search for raw materials, last year took a 51% stake in the Disko-Nuussuaq project on the west coast of Greenland, operated by London-listed Bluejay Mining.
The joint venture used drones to conduct a high-resolution magnetic survey of the area and aircraft to drill a total of 3,000 meters this year to depths between 150 and 400 meters, where the metals are found.
“The aim is to target mass-use metals from the nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum group,” Bluejay Mining Chief Executive Bo Steensgaard told Reuters.
Nickel valuables, used in stainless steel and electric vehicle batteries, more than doubled earlier this month in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has brought Western sanctions against Moscow. Russia supplies about 10% of the world’s nickel needs.
“Recent unfortunate geopolitical events clearly show that the Western world is in need of new critical metal deposits,” Steensgaard said.
KoBold is a private company whose major investors include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a Microsoft-backed technology and climate fund, co-founder Bill Gates, Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
“Fully electrifying the global economy is the biggest new generation challenge,” said KoBold CEO Kurt House.
“To achieve that lofty goal, we must accelerate our efforts to find the key materials for the electric vehicle revolution,” he said.
Last month, KoBold raised $192.5 million to be used to discover critical materials.
Other investors in KoBold include Silicon Valley venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz, Norwegian state-controlled energy company Equinor, and Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates.
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen. Editing in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)