The demand for electric vehicles is expected to skyrocket in the near future due to the need to cut emissions. With many businesses aiming to achieve carbon neutrality in the coming decades, and with the number of electric vehicles on the road expected to rise from 10 million in 2020 to upwards of 145 million by 2030, the race of electrification is picking up. However, transitioning from combustion engines to electric power won’t be a piece of cake due to the massive amount of metals we will need to make this a reality.
In a bid to tackle this problem, mineral exploration company KoBold Metals, backed by big names such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg, and Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio, agreed to collaborate with Bluejay Mining (JAY.L) on Monday to conduct a search for these EV metals in Greenland, according to a press statement.
KoBold Metals, whose mission is to discover and develop novel “ethical sources” of the critical materials for electric vehicles, will invest $15 million in Bluejay’s Disko-Nuussuaq project in Greenland to look for nickel, copper, cobalt, and platinum. The privately held company searches for raw strategic materials using AI, machines, and computing.
“The Disko-Nuussuaq Property is centered in a region of extensive contaminated and metal-depleted volcanic centers where there is clear evidence for the equilibration of flood basalt magma with crustal sulfur with potential for the concentration of magmatic sulfides in shallow sub-volcanic intrusions,” said Dr. Peter Lightfoot, Lead of Magmatic Systems at KoBold, in the statement. “The rich inventory of government and exploration data provides an excellent starting point for KoBold to utilize proprietary technology to support exploration.”
These events in the area’s history “could have resulted in forming a world-class battery metal deposit,” according to KoBold’s CEO Kurt House.
The funding will be used to conduct an evaluation and initial drilling. KoBold will receive a 51 percent ownership in the project in exchange. The license holds metals such as nickel, copper, cobalt, and platinum.
As the efforts to meet the EV demand accelerate, the world will need all sorts of help. Metals are non-renewable sources, and we will want to recycle them at some point to ideally stop drilling the world for metals.
To accomplish this, we’ll need to improve our recycling of EV batteries when they die. Millions of tons of batteries are expected to be retired from the road over the next few decades, and they could be used to meet a significant portion of the EV industry’s future mineral demand instead of ending up in landfills.
There’ll most probably come a moment when recycling alone won’t be sufficient to meet the majority of demand. This is why some scientists are experimenting with developing new types of batteries that need fewer minerals. Improving public transportation and creating walkable and bikeable cities would also help reduce the need for private vehicles, but perhaps, the solution lies in space, and one day we could mine asteroids.