Gates, Bezos, Branson and Bloomberg in billionaires’ club to mine raw materials in Greenland

Artificial intelligence to be used in search for rare metals

Justin Vallejo
New York
Wednesday 11 August 2021 20:23
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Billionaires are getting the band back together just in time for the Disko.

Bill Gates is leading his big-money buddies looking for nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum at the "Disko Project" in Central West Greenland.

The Microsoft founder’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures is a principal investor injecting $15m in the search for the metals often used in the production of electric vehicle batteries.

Breakthrough Energy is funded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, Alibaba’s Jack Ma, and Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio.

The joint venture between American company KoBold Metals and British firm Bluejay Mining will use artificial intelligence to scour the Arctic soil in search of the raw materials at BlueJay’s Disko-Nuussuaq project.

KoBold and its billionaire investors get a 51 per cent state in the project in return.

In addition to Breakthrough Energy, other investors behind KoBold’s $15m commitment include Silicon Valley VC fund, Andreessen Horowitz, and Norwegian state-owned energy company Equinor.

In a statement announcing the investment, KoBold CEO Kurt House said the first stage of the project would be funded to the tune of $3.4 million by the end of 2022, with another $11.6 million going into drilling by the end of 2024.

"The Disko region has seen the rare convergence of events in earth’s history that could have resulted in forming a world-class battery metal deposit," he said.

Bluejay CEO Bo Stensgaard said the project has potential for discovering significant deposits of the raw materials, but that a significant investment was needed to develop the site.

What makes the area so promising, according to the companies, is "clear evidence for the equilibration of flood basalt magma with crustal sulfur with potential for the concentration of magmatic sulphides in shallow sub-volcanic intrusions".

For the billionaires’ club, that means – or at least is hoped – there is a good chance of finding those metals and getting a return on their investment, allowing them to buy up more farmland or send more rockets into orbit.

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