Billionaires are funding a massive treasure hunt in Greenland as the ice disappears

Some of the world’s richest men are funding a massive treasure hunt, complete with helicopters and transmitters, off the west coast of Greenland.

The climate crisis is melting Greenland at an unprecedented rate, which, in a twist of irony, is creating an opportunity for investors and mining companies seeking a treasure trove of critical minerals capable of fueling the transition to green energy.

A gang of billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates, among others, are betting that beneath the surface of the hills and valleys on Greenland’s Disko Island and Nuussuaq Peninsula there are enough critical minerals to power hundreds of million electric vehicles.

“We are looking for a deposit that is the first or second largest nickel and cobalt deposit in the world,” Kurt House, CEO of Kobold Metals, told CNN.

The disappearance of Arctic ice, on land and in the ocean, highlights a unique dichotomy: Greenland is ground zero for the impacts of climate change, but it could also become ground zero for the metals needed to power the solution to climate change. the crisis.

The billionaire club is financially backing Kobold Metals, a California-based mineral exploration company and startup, company representatives told CNN. Bezos, Bloomberg and Gates did not respond to CNN requests for comment on this story. Kobold partnered with Bluejay Mining to find the rare and precious metals in Greenland that are needed to build electric vehicles and massive batteries to store renewable energy.

Thirty geologists, geophysicists, cooks, pilots, and mechanics camp at the site where Kobold and Blujay search for buried treasure. CNN is the first media outlet with video of the activity that occurs there.

Teams are taking soil samples, flying drones and helicopters with transmitters to measure the subsurface electromagnetic field and map the rock layers below. They are using artificial intelligence to analyze the data and determine exactly where to drill next summer.

“It is worrying to witness the consequences and impacts of climate changes in Greenland,” Bluejay Mining CEO Bo Møller Stensgaard told CNN. “But generally speaking, climate changes in general have made exploration and mining in Greenland easier and more accessible.”

Stensgaard said that because climate change is making sea ice-free periods longer, teams can more easily ship heavy equipment and ship metals to the global market.

The melting of land ice is exposing land that has been buried under ice for centuries or millennia, but could now become a potential site for mineral exploration.

“As these trends continue in the future, there is no question that there will be more accessible land and some of this land may have potential for mineral development,” Mike Sfraga, chairman of the Arctic Research Commission of the United States, told CNN. the United States.

Greenland could be a hot spot for coal, copper, gold, rare earths and zinc, according to the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. The Greenland government, according to the agency, has conducted several “resource assessments across the ice-free land” and the government “recognizes the country’s potential to diversify the national economy through mineral extraction.”

Sfraga said the pro-mining stance is not without consideration for the environment, which is central to Greenland’s culture and livelihood.

“The Greenland government supports the responsible, sustainable and economically viable development of its natural resources to include the extraction of a wide range of minerals,” Sfraga said.

Stensgaard noted that these critical minerals “will provide part of the solution to meet these challenges” presented by the climate crisis.

Meanwhile, the disappearance of Greenland’s ice, which is raising sea levels, is a major concern for scientists studying the Arctic.

“The big concern about the Arctic sea ice is that it has been disappearing for the last few decades and is projected to potentially be gone in 20 to 30 years,” Nathan Kurtz, a NASA scientist who studies sea ice, told CNN. “In the fall, what used to be a year-round Arctic ice cap will now just be a seasonal ice cap.”

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