KoBold Metals wants to use cutting edge technology in its search for critical minerals like cobalt and lithium.
U.S. mining company KoBold Metals has secured $200 million to search for critical battery raw materials for e-cars, such as cobalt and lithium, using artificial intelligence (AI). Investors including Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a venture capital firm for climate-friendly technologies, as well as Norwegian energy company Equinor and Japanese automaker Mitsubishi.
That puts KoBold’s valuation at $1 billion, co-founder and CEO Kurt House told the Wall Street Journal. It would make the startup, founded in 2018, a so-called unicorn. KoBold now plans to move forward with projects like developing recently acquired copper reserves in Zambia. In total, the company has 60 ongoing exploration projects in North America, Africa and Australia and holds exploration partnerships with mining companies Rio Tinto and BHP; the latter being also one of its investors.
To stop climate change, the industry needs to discover more than $12 trillion worth of critical new mineral deposits, KoBold writes on its website. According to House, however, success rates in finding deposits have been declining, and mining exploration methods have remained almost unchanged for decades. Without technological breakthroughs, it is unlikely that sufficient mineral deposits could be found in time.