While some may disagree about the true cause of climate change, everyone agrees that global warming is bad because of its disastrous ecological consequences and potentially lead to a dramatic transformation of our planet as we know it. But there are also some other unintended consequences of global warming.
As the Earth’s temperature increases, it causes more snow and ice to melt each summer, which exposes the underlying precious minerals. An example of this can be in Greenland where more than 8 billion tons of ice melts per day for several days in July 2021, which later exposed precious minerals buried under the ice. But one tech startup did not let this crisis goes to waste.
KoBold Metals is a California-based mineral exploration tech startup company that uses artificial intelligence (A) to explore rare minerals buried beneath Greenland’s ice to power electric vehicles and support the transition to renewable energy. Since its inception four years ago, KoBold Metals has attracted the interest of investors looking to tap into the opportunities with the hope of reaping the future windfall.
In February of this year, KoBold Metals raised $192.5m in a Series B funding round backed by billionaires Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. The round was also joined by new investors including Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board, Standard Investments, BHP Ventures, Mitsubishi, Sam Altman’s Apollo Projects, and Sarah Kunst’s Cleo Capital.
Founded by Jeff Jurinak, Josh Goldman, Kurt House, and Kurt Zenz House, KoBold Metals is focused on employing AI to find metals such as cobalt, nickel, copper, and lithium, which are used in manufacturing electric vehicle batteries.
“Replacing all gasoline-powered cars with electric vehicles is a critical need to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change. To build the batteries for these vehicles, we need all of the world’s reserves of cobalt, nickel, copper, and lithium plus another $10 trillion of new sources of those metals—an increase in demand of up to 40x over the next 20 years,” the company said on its website.
In an interview with Business Insider, a spokesperson for KoBold Metals said: “We are looking for a discovery that will be one of the largest, most significant nickel and cobalt deposits in the world, potentially capable of powering 100 million EVs.”
KoBold currently has a team of 30 people, including geologists, geophysicists, and pilots exploring Disko Island and Nuussuaq Peninsula, where the minerals and metals for the batteries and electric vehicles are believed to be in the hills and valleys.
The startup is also working in partnership with Bluejay Mining on exploration after CNN first reported the story in a video of the work the KoBold team is doing in Greenland.
“Fully electrifying the global economy is our generation’s greatest challenge,” the KoBold spokesperson said. “Partnering with this broad set of world-class investors will accelerate our efforts to find the key materials for the EV revolution.”
Starting next summer, the KoBold team in Greenland is planning to use AI to find areas for drilling, according to CNN. Besides, the team is also taking soil samples and using drones and helicopters to scope out the layers below the surface.
“It is a concern to witness the consequences and impacts from the climate changes in Greenland,” Bo Møller Stensgaard, CEO of Bluejay Mining, told CNN. “But, generally speaking, climate changes overall have made exploration and mining in Greenland easier and more accessible.”