Bill Gates-Backed Company to Hunt for Cobalt Near Glencore Mine

KoBold Metals

A startup backed by a group of tycoons including Bill Gates plans to use data-crunching algorithms to search for cobalt near a Canadian nickel mine owned by Glencore Plc.

Kobold Metals has acquired rights to an area of about 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) — roughly the size of New York City — in northern Quebec, according to Chief Executive Officer Kurt House. It’s the first such foray by the company to become public.

San Francisco Bay Area-based Kobold Metals is hoping to use data analytics to build a “Google Maps for the earth’s crust.” The company is betting it can find metals crucial to the electric-vehicle revolution, such as cobalt, that so far have eluded more traditionally-minded geologists.

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