Bill Gates-backed mining startup wants to expand into Congo

7th November 2023 By: Bloomberg

KoBold Metals, a mining start-up backed by Bill Gates that’s developing a copper project in Zambia, is getting closer to investing in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

That’s according to chief executive officer Kurt House, who said that the company has already bid for one asset, which didn’t result in a transaction. He declined to identify the asset.

“We think it is probably the best place in the world for the types of materials we’re looking for,” House said in an interview.

KoBold is exploring around the world for new deposits of metals that are key to the global green-energy transition. Congo is the world’s largest cobalt producer and one of the biggest sources of copper. Both materials are expected to see demand swell in the coming decade as they’re needed for clean-energy infrastructure and rechargeable batteries.

San Francisco Bay Area-based KoBold’s entry into Congo would align with the priorities of US President Joe Biden’s administration, which is keen to grow American investments throughout the electric-vehicle supply chain, according to House.

The closely held company’s backers include Gates’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and it also counts BHP, the world’s biggest mining company by market value, among its shareholders. Michael Bloomberg, majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg, is an investor in Breakthrough, according to the company’s website.