KoBold Raises Over $190 M to Source Metals for EV Batteries

Highlights :

  • KoBold Metals is a Silicon Valley-based start-up backed by a coalition of billionaires including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.
  • KoBold will employ artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse collected data to help understand geological patterns and locate possible deposits of metals like cobalt and lithium.
KoBold Raises Over $190 M to Source Metals for EV Batteries

Silicon Valley-based KoBold Metals has raised more than $190 million in its latest Series B funding round that is expected to give speed to the firm’s efforts to find new deposits of critical metals that are required for EV batteries and clean energy.

KoBold Metals is a start-up backed by a coalition of billionaires including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

In the latest funding round for the firm, investors like Sam Altman’s Apollo Projects, Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital as well as BHP and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board showed interest. The CPPIB is Canada’s largest pension fund. Some of the previous backers, such as Venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, showed interest this time as well.

According to KoBold Metals’ past estimates, the world needs to mine more than $10 trillion of key metals to meet the expected demand for electric vehicles (EV). It says that traditional mining companies should employ artificial intelligence (AI) tools to help in resource finding.

In its special quest for cobalt deposits on Earth’s crust, KoBold has planned to use artificial intelligence to create a ‘Google Maps.’ The firm collects and evaluates multiple streams of data to better understand where new deposits of scarce metals might be found. All data that ranges from old drilling results to satellite imagery are collected.

Sophisticated algorithmic techniques are then applied to the data collected to determine the geological patterns that help indicate potential deposits of both lithium and cobalt. Usually, these two resources occur naturally alongside nickel and copper.

Although Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kurt House had said on multiple occasions that KoBold doesn’t intend to be in the business of mining and be recognised as a mine operator, the firm’s quest for battery metals began two years ago in Canada. It then acquired rights to an area of about 1,000 sq km in Quebec. Today KoBold owns nearly a dozen exploration properties in Zambia, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Western Australia.

The entity itself is named after the German word for a goblin that controls the earth’s minerals, and has gathered a good amount of publicly available data. The key sources of this data are firm disclosures and government sources. They also delve into the historical information provided by the companies KoBold had partners with in the past.

Post data collection, KoBold then crunches the data obtained using its algorithms in search of geological patterns. This helps guide its land acquisition processes and operational activities. The AI based technology can locate resources that may have eluded more traditionally minded geologists and now help miners as to where to acquire land and drill, says KoBold.

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