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Bill Gates-Backed Company to Hunt for Cobalt Near Glencore Mine

  • Kobold Metals has got exploration rights to area in Quebec
  • Company plans to build a ‘Google Maps for the earth’s crust’
A Cobalt nugget

A Cobalt nugget

Photographer: Cole Burston/Bloomberg

A startup backed by a group of tycoons including Bill Gates plans to use data-crunching algorithms to search for cobalt near a Canadian nickel mine owned by Glencore Plc.

Kobold Metals has acquired rights to an area of about 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) -- roughly the size of New York City -- in northern Quebec, according to Chief Executive Officer Kurt House. It’s the first such foray by the company to become public.