BHP, Bill Gates-Backed KoBold Metals Form Exploration Alliance

BHP Group Ltd. (BHP), the world's largest miner by market value, has formed an exploration alliance with KoBold Metals, a Silicon Valley startup backed by Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the companies said on Wednesday.

KoBold, which is focused on using artificial intelligence to find new sources of electric-vehicle and renewable-energy metals, will initially partner with BHP to search for commodities such as nickel and copper in Western Australia before expanding to other places, the companies said. BHP and KoBold will jointly operate and fund exploration programs.

"We need new approaches to find the next generation of essential minerals, and this alliance will combine historical data, artificial intelligence, and geoscience expertise to uncover what has previously been hidden," said Keenan Jennings, BHP's head of metals exploration.

KoBold, whose investors also include venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, says it uses artificial intelligence to guide where to look for new metals deposits and to shape field exploration programs. It has several joint ventures and alliances with miners and explorers, including a JV with explorer Bluejay Mining PLC to search for metals in central- west Greenland announced in August.

Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com


  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  09-08-21 0114ET
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