What do deep-pocket billionaires Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and Jeff Bezos have in common?
Would you believe, a battery minerals joint venture with Bluejay Mining to develop a major nickel, copper and cobalt project in Greenland?
According to a report in The Telegraph, KoBold Metals will earn 51% of Bluejay’s Disko-Nuussuaq licence under a two-stage earn-in deal in which it will spend about US$15 million on geological evaluation and drilling using its own technology.
The licence covers an area of almost 3,000 sq-km that Bluejay believes has the potential to “host multiple globally significant occurrences of nickel and copper.”
Demand for both is expected to grow due to their use in electric car batteries and electric wiring amid efforts to shift away from fossil fuels.
Bluejay is also behind the Dundas Ilmenite project in north-west Greenland, which won a 30-year licence from the government in December. It is expected to produce up to 600,000 tonnes a year of the mineral used in paints, plastics and cosmetics, the report said.
KoBold Metals’ current suite of sophisticated proprietary algorithms is called Machine Prospector and uses geophysical data to map out underground reserves, which aim to boost supplies of materials needed for electric cars and electronics.
Its artificial Intelligence agent – called Intelligent Prospector, helps KoBold in making decisions at the right time in developing a deposit from a claim to a fully operational mine, the report said.
Its main investors include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the clean tech venture capital fund led by Bill Gates, whose backers include Bloomberg, Bezos, and Softbank chairman Masayoshi Son.
“KoBold’s approach to bringing the best minds in data science, engineering, and geology to accelerate critical battery metals fieldwork, data collection, and discoveries, is a cornerstone to a clean energy future,” said Jef Caers, geological sciences professor at Stanford University.
KoBold CEO Kurt House has stated multiple times that he does not intend to be a mine operator “ever,” reports Mining.com.
Instead, the company is focused on searching for battery metals, a quest that began in Canada last year.
KoBold acquired rights to an area of about 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) in northern Quebec, just south of Glencore’s Raglan nickel mine.
KoBold is also backed by Equinor, Norway’s state energy company, and Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm.
Kurt House, chief executive of KoBold, said: “The Disko region has seen the rare convergence of events in earth’s history that could have resulted in forming a world-class battery metal deposit.
“KoBold’s technology is perfectly suited to discovering new resources at Disko. Our proprietary library of analytical tools, Machine Prospector, will enable effective deployment of exploration capital and maximise our chances of discovery at Disko-Nuussuaq.”
Bluejay Mining says that previous studies have found that the area in western Greenland resembles the geology of Russia’s Norilsk region, a main producer of nickel and palladium.
Bo Stensgaard, chief executive of Bluejay, said: “This agreement is transformative for Bluejay. We are delighted to have a partner at the pinnacle of technical innovation for new exploration methods, backed by some of the most successful investors in the world.
“Additionally, Bluejay retains the ability to self-fund to maintain a 49% ownership through to production, providing external public investors with the opportunity of investing alongside a private investment entity of this magnitude.”
KoBold is engaged in discovering and developing new ethical sources of the critical materials needed for electric vehicles.
Currently, about 65% of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, much of it by hand and allegedly using children.
Sources: The Telegraph, DigitalJournal.com, Mining Technology