Bluejay Mining in JV with Gates-backed KoBold Metals for EV-critical minerals in Greenland; developing Disko
Bluejay Mining, an exploration and development company with projects in Greenland and Finland, announced a joint venture agreement with KoBold Metals, a mineral exploration company that uses machine learning to guide exploration for new deposits rich in the critical materials for electric vehicles.
This agreement brings a globally significant partner to Bluejay’s Disko-Nuussuaq nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum (Ni-Cu-PGM-Co) magmatic massive sulfide (MMS) project, located on the southwest coast of Greenland. Disko is circa the size of Luxembourg, with the largest anomaly being more than 6 km long.
Principal investors in KoBold include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a climate & technology fund overseen by Bill Gates, and whose investors include fellow billionaires Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, and Ray Dalio. Other investors in KoBold include Andreessen Horowitz, the premier Silicon Valley venture capital fund and Equinor, the Norwegian state-owned multinational energy company.
Under the terms of the agreement, KoBold can earn 51% of Disko through a two-stage earn-in. Bluejay can maintain a 49% interest through proportionate funding of the project and will manage field operations during this period.
The Disko region has seen the rare convergence of events in earth’s history that could have resulted in forming a world-class battery metal deposit. KoBold’s technology is perfectly suited to discovering new resources at Disko. Our proprietary library of analytical tools, Machine Prospector, will enable effective deployment of exploration capital and maximize our chances of discovery at Disko-Nuussuaq.
We are excited to invest in Greenland’s emerging mineral sector and to partner with Bluejay in light of their strong track record in Greenland and the outstanding potential of the Disko project.—Kurt House, CEO of KoBold
Disko is a project with great potential for the discovery of globally significant deposits of battery metals. It is, however, this scale that necessitated a financially and technically strong partner to develop Disko. After many conversations with many groups from all over the world we are pleased to enter into partnership with a group that shares our position on fairness and providing a transparent long-term outcome for shareholders as well as being a credible and reliable partner that shares our commitment to environmental sustainability. I am very pleased to say that we have achieved this now with KoBold, an organization with the heft and technical capability to grow this project to its full commercial potential. We are extremely excited to be working with them.—Bo Stensgaard, CEO of Bluejay
The Disko-Nuussuaq Property is centred 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. The rich inventory of government and exploration data provides an excellent starting point for KoBold to utilize proprietary technology to support exploration.
After working on the Nori’sk mineral system and applying the ideas to help Falconbridge with their exploration work, it is exciting to see this work come to fruition.—Dr. Peter Lightfoot, Technical Lead of Magmatic Systems at KoBold
KoBold. KoBold’s purpose is to discover and develop new ethical sources of the critical materials—e.g., Ni, Co, Cu, Li, Pt, and Pd—for electric vehicles. KoBold’s objective is to make more discoveries of outstanding ore bodies with fewer failures by drawing on world-class expertise in exploration geoscience and by developing full-stack exploration technology to use machine learning and other scientific computing techniques to enable highly effective exploration decision-making.
The KoBold team brings a group of specialists within data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence, software engineering, physics, and mathematics, coupled with well-known “mine-finder” professionals with proven track records.
Notably for the Disko-Nuussuaq Project, KoBold’s nickel expert Dr. Peter Lightfoot was earlier involved with the historical Falconbridge campaign at Disko-Nuussuaq during the 1990s and, moreover, has been part of a team that has identified major discoveries in every one of the cobalt-producing nickel-copper sulfide belts in Canada.
KoBold’s in-house developed machine learning and artificial intelligence data technologies, TerraShed and Machine Prospector, have been built from scratch by alumni of top Silicon Valley software companies to guide every aspect of mineral exploration as well as mine development and operations.
TerraShed integrates all types of geoscientific data into a single system for quality control, visualization, and predictive modeling. KoBold’s proprietary suite of analytical tools, Machine Prospector, interrogates the data with techniques from computer vision to ensemble machine learning to stochastic inversions, to predict the locations of orebodies and the critical controls on ore formation.
KoBold was recognized in 2021 as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum and as one of the 100 most promising private artificial intelligence companies in the world by CB Insights—and the only one within the mining industry.
Key terms of the agreement:
KoBold will earn 51% of the Disko-Nuussuaq licence holding through a two stage earn-in commitment
Stage I: Advanced geological and geophysical evaluation of Disko-Nuussuaq to refine drill-targets using KoBold's proprietary technology, $3.4 million sole-funded by 31 December 2022.
Stage II: Sole funding of either US$11.6 million in drilling expenditure or 15 pre-agreed drill holes within the Disko licence area by 31 December 2024.
Bluejay can maintain its 49% shareholding by funding its pro-rata commitment after Stage II.
Bluejay will manage field operations until 2024.
Should KoBold complete Stage I work but not complete the drilling commitment in Stage II before 31 December 2024, 2.0% of the JV company and thereby control will revert to Bluejay with both parties subject to continuing standard dilution methodology.
The Disko-Nuussuaq Project. The Disko-Nuussuaq Project is hosted within the West Greenland Tertiary Igneous Province. This province is a well-recognized geological analogue to the Siberian Flood Basalts of the Noril’sk Region. Previous studies and work conducted by the company highlighted the similarities between the geology of the Noril’sk Region of Siberia, which is the marginal producer of nickel and palladium, and Disko-Nuussuaq. This is supported by multiple peer reviewed scientific studies.
The most recent reserve estimates by Noril’sk Nickel estimate proven and probable ore reserves totalling 663.1 million tonnes (Mt), containing 6.0 Mt of nickel, 11.4 Mt of copper and 117.5 million ounces (Moz) of platinum group metals. Reserves are reportedly sufficient to support 80 years of output. Measured and indicated ore resources are in the order of a stunning 1,702.9 Mt containing 11.6 Mt of nickel, 22 Mt of copper and 257.3 Moz of platinum group metals.
Comparing global reserves plus resources the Noril’sk camp contains 15% of the global resource of sulfide nickel, 27% of the total global palladium resource, and 30% of the global resource of magmatic sulfide-hosted copper. Based on estimates of combined reserves, resources, and historic production, the total value of the ores in the Norilsk district in 2020 metal prices is US$1.4 trillion.
Diagram showing well known nickel-sulfide deposits/mining districts. The expected grade tonne range for Disko indicated inside the transparent blue ellipsoid, based on mass balance of depleted lavas. Source: Bluejay Mining.
Initial investigations at Disko-Nuussuaq date back to the discovery in 1870 of the 28-tonne Illukunguaq Boulder of massive sulfide assaying 7% nickel, 3% copper and 512 grams per tonne (g/t) cobalt, as well as more than 2.0 g/t platinum group elements. Following this, more than 30 years of exploration by companies, including Cominco and Falconbridge, but also more recent work by Vismand Exploration and Cairn Energy backed Avannaa Resources, as well as government-backed work and data acquisition by the Geological Survey of Greenland/Geological Survey of Denmark, has resulted in a vast amount of scientific data (both geological, geochemical, and geophysical) all pointing to a process producing a globally significant accumulation of metals. The total cost of this multi-decade data acquisition and field work represents millions of dollars of total expenditure.
Detailed geochemical mass balance calculations on the Kukunguaq Member sulfide-saturated contaminated basalt sequence indicates that between 12-16 million tons of nickel metal are missing from lavas extruded from the mantle. The most likely explanation for this is that these metals have precipitated as nickel and copper sulfides proximal to the main volcanic vents and other structural corridors which controlled the migration of magma. Bluejay licence areas cover all of the currently known contaminated and metal-depleted volcanic centers on Disko and Nuussuaq.
In addition to the magmatic sulfide mineralization system, massive gold bearing boulders of native iron have been found on the company’s licences, specifically the 10-tonne Hammer Dal Boulder providing another significant target for iron-nickel-copper-cobalt-platinum group elements-gold mineralization.
Bluejay has undertaken multiple work campaigns over several seasons with the inclusion of several state-sponsored technical partners, undertaking aerial surveys, extensive geochemical sampling utilising the most modern analytical techniques with ultra-low sensitivity as well as soil gas hydrocarbon sampling. These new “deep-penetrating” geochemical and gas surveys have for the first time provided metal anomaly signals coincident with previously identified large-scale geophysical responses.
Bluejay’s assessment and investigation over the last several years has identified more than 20 drill-ready targets on licence holdings at Disko-Nuussuaq. Of the targets defined, notably, there are seven large conductive targets previously defined by Vismand Exploration and Avannaa Resources and reconfirmed by Bluejay.
The two largest conductive targets are extraordinary in scale, the largest being more than 10.0 km long and around 2.0 km wide and another being around 4.8 km long and 800 meters wide; both comparable in footprint to the world-class Noril’sk-Talnakh ore bodies.
Bluejay licence position at Disko-Nuussuaq. Bluejay’s 2,897 km² Disko-Nuussuaq holding includes several separate licences awarded by the Government of Greenland. The first licence holdings at Disko-Nuussuaq were purchased by Bluejay in 2017 from Capricorn Oil Limited, a subsidiary of Cairn Energy PLC, which was the licence holder at the time, after the oil and gas exploration and development company, Cairn, ceased its offshore activities in West Greenland. At the same time, it also ceased funding its parallel onshore mineral exploration vehicle and operator, Avannaa Resources Ltd.
The transaction included all licences at Disko-Nuussuaq as well as licences at the Kangerluarsuk zinc-lead-silver-copper project, located north of the former famous and most profitable historical mine in Greenland, the Black Angel zinc-lead-silver mine. The acquisition price was £500,000.
The initial licence holding at Disko-Nuussuaq was expanded by Bluejay in 2017, 2018 and 2020 to the current total holding of 2,897 km². The Bluejay licence holdings are concentrated over the most prospective settings/contaminated basalt, as well as targeting the larger fault-systems & magmatic pathways.
Bluejay’s land holdings also host most of the previously recognized magmatic sulfide and native iron boulders and native iron occurrences. Moreover, the Bluejay licence ground was acquired in areas where valleys incised into the flood basalts that reduces the drill depth to potentially mineralized subvolcanic intrusions. All licences have access to a deep-water fjord or deep open water and can be operated from either land or boat/barge-based camps.
Map showing the current licence holdings at Disko-Nuussuaq. Source: Bluejay
From the later part of 2019 and into 2021 Disko-Nuussuaq has seen a licence acquisition race—meaning that Bluejay’s first-mover holdings have been surrounded by other licence holders. Notably, Anglo American holds an area of almost 10,000 km².