KoBold Metals plans new Zambian copper mine within a decade
KoBold Metals, an exploration company that has invested more than $60 million annually across more than 60 projects in search of copper, nickel, lithium and copper has set its sights on copper and cobalt projects in in Zambia that could be put into production within 10 years.
Reuters reported that the company, which is backed by the billionaires including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, is spending about $150 million to accelerate its search for more deposits at the Mingomba project, located along the fabled African copper belt.
The additional studies will be completed in 2024, said Mfikeyi Makayi, the Zambian CEO of the Silicon Valley start-up.
"It's a very attractive project and we have said within a decade we would want Mingomba to be a producing mine," Makayi told Reuters.
KoBold uses artificial intelligence to search for copper, cobalt, nickel and lithium that the world needs for the clean energy transition and to accelerate growth in electric vehicles.
KoBold is backed by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a climate and technology fund whose other backers include Virgin Group's Richard Branson and Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio.
The company's investors understand the lengthy period it takes to build the mine and that securing supplies of these metals is critical, Makayi said.
"They may not be your traditional, conventional backers, but the global need is so critical, it's basically a crisis," Makayi said. "That's why the buy-in is there, for people to be willing to be with us for the long haul, that just shows the commitment to what we are doing."
KoBold also searches for critical metals with BHP Group and Rio Tinto at projects in Australia. Commodity investor EMR Capital and Zambia's ZCCM-IH also own stakes in Mingomba.
KoBold wants to find more deposits as big as Mingomba in Zambia and would also explore opportunities in Botswana, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Makayi said.
The deposit has a defined resource of about 247 million tons of ore with an average grade of 3.64 percent copper, or an estimated 9 million tons of copper, according to KoBold.
Image credit: KoBold Metals