Billionaire-Backed KoBold and Midnight Sun Join Forces for Copper Discovery in Zambia

KoBold Metals, a U.S.-based startup backed by high-profile investors like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, is making strides in Zambia’s copper-rich belt. In February, it joined forces with Canada’s Midnight Sun Mining (TSXV: MMA) to explore the promising Dumbwa target within the Solwezi copper project.

This strategic alliance combines KoBold’s advanced data science techniques with Midnight Sun’s extensive local expertise. The collaboration aims to enable KoBold to earn a 75% stake in the Dumbwa target by investing $15 million in exploration and making $500,000 in cash payments over 4.5 years.

“Partnering with KoBold allows us to explore this vast property with the necessary capital and expertise,” Midnight Sun’s marketing and communications director Adrien O’Brien stated at The Northern Miner’s Energy Transition Metals Summit in Washington, D.C., in April. “Their tech-driven approach, combined with our local knowledge, creates a powerful synergy aimed at unlocking Dumbwa’s full potential.”

During an April 30 session moderated by The Northern Miner’s western editor, Henry Lazenby, KoBold’s chief strategy officer, Daniel Enderton, highlighted KoBold’s data-driven approach to mining. “KoBold isn’t just targeting copper; we’re focused on all critical minerals and metals essential for the energy transition,” Enderton explained. He mentioned their journey started four years ago in Canada, where they identified lithium deposits near Glencore’s Raglan nickel mine in northern Quebec.

KoBold, backed by significant investments due to the billionaires’ interest in energy transition metals, invested $50 million in exploration last year. The company currently has 60 active projects across Africa, North America, Australia, and Asia. “Using artificial intelligence, our goal is to create a ‘Google Maps’ of the Earth’s crust to locate copper, cobalt, nickel, and lithium deposits,” Enderton said. KoBold utilizes various data streams, from historical drilling results to satellite imagery, to pinpoint new deposits. “Our algorithms detect geological patterns that indicate potential deposits of cobalt, often found alongside nickel and copper,” he explained. This technology helps identify resources overlooked by traditional methods and assists miners in deciding where to acquire land and drill.

The Central African Copperbelt, one of the world’s most mineral-rich regions, offers high prospects for significant discoveries. The Dumbwa target, situated in Zambia’s Domes Region, is near major copper mines like First Quantum Minerals’ (TSX: FM) Sentinel mine, Barrick Gold’s (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) Lumwana mine, and Ivanhoe Mines’ (TSX: IVN; US-OTC: IVPAF) Kamoa-Kakula project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This area’s strategic location makes it an ideal spot for KoBold and Midnight Sun Mining’s joint venture. O’Brien believes the Dumbwa project holds significant discovery potential due to its 20-km-long soil anomaly with visible copper grades.

Drilling is set to commence in the North American summer, with results expected by early fall.

KoBold’s investment in Zambia underscores its confidence in the region’s potential, with six projects already underway and plans for further expansion. “Our investors believe in our data science approach,” Enderton said. “Their support allows us to invest through commodity cycles for sustainable growth.” Both Enderton and O’Brien praised Zambia’s mining-friendly environment, highlighting its robust infrastructure and skilled workforce. “Zambia has a century-long mining history,” O’Brien noted. “Its infrastructure and workforce are second to none.”

Both partners are committed to sustainability and maintaining good community relations, working closely with local chiefs and communities.

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