Mineral exploration company KoBold Metals, backed by billionaires including Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, said on Thursday it would begin drilling in Greenland for critical materials used in electric vehicles.
KoBold, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to hunt for raw materials, last year secured a 51% stake in the Disko-Nuussuaq project on Greenland’s west coast, which is operated by London-listed Bluejay Mining.
The joint venture will use drones to make a high-resolution magnetic survey of the area and plans to drill a total of 3,000 metres this year to depths of between 150 and 400 metres where the metals are located.
“The objective is to target massive nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum group metals,” Bluejay Mining Chief Executive Bo Steensgaard told Reuters.
Prices for nickel, used in stainless steel and electric vehicle batteries, more than doubled earlier this month in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sparked Western sanctions against Moscow. Russia supplies about 10% of the world’s nickel needs.
“The recent unfortunate geopolitical developments clearly show that the Western world needs new deposits of these critical metals,” Steensgaard said.
KoBold is a privately-held company whose principal investors include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a climate and technology fund backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
“Fully electrifying the global economy is our generation’s greatest challenge,” said KoBold CEO Kurt House.
“To accomplish 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 that will be used to discover critical materials.
Other KoBold investors 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.
(By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)