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Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos-backed startup discovers large-scale copper deposit in Zambia

KoBold Metals, a California-based company in the metal exploration domain, has unveiled a significant copper deposit discovery in Zambia, supported by backers like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. This discovery holds particular importance in the global competition for essential materials vital to the ongoing energy transition, with copper being in high demand for applications in renewable energy and electric vehicles.

The Mingomba copper project in Zambia, under KoBold Metals ownership, is anticipated to emerge as one of the world’s most extensive high-grade copper mines. Drawing parallels in size and grade to the Kamoa-Kakula copper mine across the northern border in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the latter is recognized as the world’s fastest-growing, highest-grade, and lowest-carbon major copper mine.

KoBold Metals employs artificial intelligence methodologies to generate a comprehensive map of the Earth’s crust, aiding in the identification of new deposits of critical minerals, including copper, lithium, cobalt, and nickel. Investors in this Silicon Valley startup include notable names like Andreessen Horowitz, Equinor, BHP, and Breakthrough Energy, Bill Gates’ climate and technology fund.

Zambia, holding the position of Africa’s second-largest copper producer, stands to gain significantly from KoBold Metals’ discovery. The company envisions commencing copper production in Zambia within the next ten years, with potential profound economic implications for the African nation.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) underscores the rising demand for critical minerals but raises concerns about the insufficient global supply for the transformation of the energy sector. The concentration of production in specific geographic regions emphasizes the importance of discoveries such as KoBold Metals’ in diversifying and securing the supply chain for essential materials in the ongoing energy transition.

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