BHP Billiton ties up with Bill Gates-backed AI startups to find metal


Mining update

BHP Billiton has reached an agreement to use artificial intelligence tools developed by a startup supported by Bill Gates to find new metal deposits needed for batteries and clean energy.

The world’s largest mining company and Silicon Valley-based KoBold Metals will jointly fund exploration using data processing technology to help predict the location of deposits, starting in Western Australia.

With the booming sales of electric vehicles, the demand for battery metals such as lithium and nickel is expected to surge. Large-scale lithium-ion batteries are also increasingly used to store renewable energy from intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar energy.

BHP Billiton has pledged to focus on “future-oriented” commodities such as nickel. Sell It closed its oil and gas business last month. The miner that supplies nickel to Tesla has also invested in many start-ups through its internal venture capital arm.

Mark Frayman, head of BHP Ventures, said: “As we increase our selection of future-oriented commodities such as copper and nickel to meet growing global demand, their powerful platform combined with our internal capabilities and data sets can release lasting Competitive advantage.”

KoBold was founded in 2018, collected a large amount of historical and scientific data, and used algorithms to determine where the deposit may be below the surface.

It then uses aircraft and satellite surveys to survey potential areas and feeds the data back into a computer model, which in turn tells its geologists where to look.

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The company said: “KoBold’s technology is designed to collect weak signals in data that point to hidden deposits.”

KoBold has explored deposits in Canada, Australia and several African countries.Last month sign Signed a joint venture agreement with BlueJay Mining to explore minerals in Greenland.

KoBold CEO Kurt House (Kurt House) said: “At present, the exploration process is a very manual and very user-friendly process. We are enhancing human capabilities.” “What we are doing is improving information efficiency—— Strictly evaluate what is the most useful information to be collected.”

KoBold is backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

Keenan Jennings, vice president of BHP Metals Exploration, said that the technology will help it find deeper underground deposits because many shallow deposits have been discovered.

“We need new ways to find the next generation of basic minerals. This alliance will combine historical data, artificial intelligence and geoscience expertise to reveal what was previously hidden,” he said.


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