While some disagree about the true cause of climate change, all agree that global warming is bad for its catastrophic ecological consequences and will potentially lead to a dramatic change in our planet as we know it. But there are also some other unintended consequences of global warming.
As the Earth’s temperature rises, more snow and ice melts each summer, revealing the precious minerals beneath. An example of this may be Greenland, where in July 2021 more than 8 billion tons of ice melted per day for several days, later exposing valuable minerals buried under the ice. But one tech startup has not let this crisis go to waste.
KoBold Metals is a California-based mineral exploration technology startup using 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 capitalize on the opportunity in hopes of reaping the future windfall.
In February of this year, KoBold Metals raised $192.5 million in a Series B funding round backed by billionaires Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. The round was also joined by new investors including the 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 using AI to search for metals such as cobalt, nickel, copper and lithium used in the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries.
“Replacing all petrol-powered cars with electric vehicles is a critical necessity to avoid the catastrophic effects 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 in new sources of these metals — an increase in demand of up to 40x over the next 20 years.” The company announced this on its website.
In an interview with Business Insider, a KoBold Metals spokesperson said, “We are searching for a discovery that will be one of the largest and most significant nickel and cobalt deposits in the world, with the potential to power 100 million electric vehicles.”
KoBold currently has a team of 30 people including geologists, geophysicists and pilots exploring Disko Island and the Nuussuaq Peninsula, where the hills and valleys are believed to host the minerals and metals for the batteries and electric vehicles.
The startup is also working in partnership with Bluejay Mining on exploration after CNN first covered the story in a video about the KoBold team’s work in Greenland.
“The complete electrification of the global economy is the greatest challenge of our generation,” said the KoBold spokesman. “Partnering with this diverse group 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 plans to use AI to find drill sites, according to CNN. The team also takes soil samples and uses drones and helicopters to study the layers beneath the surface.
“It is worrying to witness the consequences and impacts of climate change in Greenland,” Bo Møller Stensgaard, CEO of Bluejay Mining, told CNN. “But in general, climate changes have made exploration and mining in Greenland easier and more accessible.”