A group of investors is betting that the $1.6tn global mining industry is set to undergo the sort of digital disruption that upended the media, music and automotive industries.
T Rowe Price, Bond Capital and a dozen other investors have raised $192mn for a Bill Gates-backed start-up called Kobold Metals, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to find new deposits of critical metals needed for batteries and clean energy.
It comes as demand for battery metals such as lithium and nickel is expected to surge as electric vehicles become mainstream over the next two decades.
Silicon Valley-based Kobold estimates that more than $10tn of lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper needs to be mined to meet the coming demand for electric vehicles — a figure that will see a growing number of traditional mining companies turn to AI to help with the challenge.
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