The company will deploy its advanced mapping technology to find cobalt in northern Quebec


Elemental cobalt. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Jurii)

KoBold Metals, a start-up backed by Bill Gates, is planning to search for cobalt near the Raglan nickel mine owned by Glencore in Canada.

The company, which was founded in 2018, will deploy advanced mapping technology to find cobalt in northern Quebec.

KoBold is said to have acquired rights to about 1,000km2 of area to the south of the Glencore’s Canadian nickel mine.

It is expected to start acquiring geophysical data from that area before the end of the year.

KoBold chief executive officer Kurt House told Bloomberg that the exploration activities in Quebec could help prove the value of the company’s approach.

House said: “The subtleties in the geophysical signals are really only evident when you have all of the data and can evaluate it in a systematic, statistically rigorous way.

“It’s just too much for the human brain to handle.”

KoBold targets to create a “Google Maps” of the Earth’s crust

KoBold is aiming to create “Google Maps” of the Earth’s crust, with a focus on finding new deposits of cobalt, which is used in making high capacity and fast charging batteries for electric vehicles.

Currently, more that two-thirds of the annual cobalt supply is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

KoBold is aiming to find and develop new, reliable, and ethical sources of cobalt.

To find the cobalt prospects, the company will deploy its Machine Prospector technology that integrates datasets with conventional geochemical, geophysical, and geological data in statistical association models.

KoBold is backed by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a fund backed by Gates and other billionaires including Jeff Bezos, Ray Dalio and Michael Bloomberg, owner of Bloomberg, the parent company of Bloomberg News.