Senior/Principal Exploration Geophysicist

About the company

KoBold Metals is a mineral exploration company created to increase the ethical supply of critical materials, including Ni, Co, Cu, and Li, that are needed to build electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. Many new mines will be needed if electric vehicles are to become widespread, but before new ore deposits can be mined, they must be found.

KoBold's objective is to make more discoveries with fewer failures by drawing on both world-class expertise in exploration geoscience and machine learning and other scientific computing techniques. KoBold employees' equity ownership in the company enables everyone on the team to share in the value we create through our discoveries.

Our technology includes a comprehensive data system and a broad suite of analytical tools that helps guide our decisions from concept generation to drill testing to resource expansion to mine development and operations. Our data platform, TerraShedTM, aggregates, structures, and QCs vast collections of scientific data and makes it rapidly available for visualization and analysis. Our suite of algorithms, Machine Prospector®, interrogates that data with a range of techniques -from computer vision to full-physics joint inversions to ensemble machine learning-to generate features that are tied to ore-forming processes or that tease out subtle signals in the data. We use those features to predict subsurface composition, permissive structural and stratigraphic settings, or other important controls on mineralization.

Our models are designed to rigorously quantify the uncertainty in our predictions and to estimate how different ways of collecting incremental data will decrease the uncertainty in our knowledge of the subsurface. These insights inform our decisions of where to acquire mineral properties, what data to collect in the field, and where to drill to discover new ore deposits. And our technology system enables us to use new information in the field to refine our models and adapt our field programs in real time.

Our team includes top mineral explorers who collectively have more than 300 years of exploration experience and have made nearly 20 discoveries. KoBold geoscientists work on exploration teams jointly with outstanding data scientists, who have Ph.D.s in physics, math, materials science, and geophysics. And our technology backbone has been built from scratch by our team of software engineers who are alumni of top Silicon Valley tech companies.

KoBold Metals is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, and Equinor.

About the position

This role is for a geophysicist with expertise in modeling geophysical data for exploration who seeks to develop new and more effective ways of extracting geologic insight from potential field and electromagnetic data.

This role has several important components: You will design and oversee geophysical data collection and analyze geophysical data for KoBold projects and potential acquisitions. You will work closely with data scientists to generate and implement analytical methods in our software. You will advise exploration teams across the company in your areas of expertise. And you will help shape the technical road map of the company through leading-edge thinking on data acquisition and analysis methods.

You will work directly with our senior technical advisors, academic collaborators, and external experts on developing new methods; you will work with contractors and JV partners on field programs; and you will work with the executive team on making the investment case for acquisitions, field programs, and partnerships.

Ultimately, your role is to help KoBold make valuable discoveries through rigorous collection and analysis of geophysical data and by generating novel ideas of how to explore and putting them into practice in collaboration with KoBold geologists and data scientists.


The Exploration Geophysicist will:

  • Design geophysical surveys to generate and test concepts on KoBold exploration properties
  • Source, select, and oversee contractors to collect geophysical data
  • Carefully quality control and process data, and develop and implement both automated and manual methods for improving the data handling steps that precede interpretation
  • Rigorously analyze geophysical data for existing and potential KoBold projects as part of integrated teams with KoBold geologists and data scientists and integrated evaluations that simultaneously draw upon geophysical, geochemical, and geological data
  • Draw on these analyses to propose projects, evaluate potential exploration targets, shape our exploration strategy and project selection
  • Plan and budget exploration programs with careful consideration and quantification of the value to be obtained from incremental data collection
  • Advise colleagues across the company on analytical methods for geophysical data
  • Advise and coordinate with KoBold's JV partners on geophysical data acquisition programs, ensuring appropriate application of and adherence to good practice in data collection
  • Identify or develop innovative analytical methods and work with KoBold data scientists and software engineers to implement them in our software and to apply them to current and potential projects
  • Devise data acquisition programs that improve upon current leading industry practice by leveraging KoBold's technological capabilities and see them through to successful implementation in KoBold field programs
  • Demonstrate in all activities a commitment to the highest standards in health and safety, environment, and community relations


A great Exploration Geophysicist candidate will have: Technical expertise in, and significant experience with:

  • Magnetic, gravity, pulsed EM (airborne, surface, and borehole), IP, and natural-source EM methods; familiarity with seismic methods is a plus but not required
  • End-to-end use of geophysical methods: designing and overseeing surveys; cleaning, applying corrections to, QA'ing, and featurizing data; and analyzing geophysical data
  • Computationally intensive analytical methods, such as joint inversions and conditional inversions
  • Wireline logging and perspective on its application in mineral exploration
  • Applying various geophysical methods to exploration for ore deposits in a commercial context, including evaluation of trade-offs and quantifying the value of each type of information
  • Applying geophysical methods in the context of different ore deposits, with a deep understanding of the relevant ore-forming processes and the settings in which those types of deposits are found; experience with sediment-hosted stratiform copper deposits and/or magmatic sulfide deposits is a strong plus but not required
  • Different stages of exploration projects, from greenfields regional generative efforts with coarse regional data to brownfield exploration and resource expansion problems with higher-density data including downhole geophysical measurements

Other key skills and problem-solving approach:

  • Familiarity with industry standard geophysical software packages (e.g., Oasis Montaj, Maxwell) and proficiency in the kinds of analysis you can do with themů
  • ...but a keen awareness of their limitations and a fulsome set of ideas and capabilities to move the analysis to the way you think it should be done
  • A focus on rigorously quantifying uncertainty in geophysical analysis
  • An orientation toward thinking about problems from first principles, rather than relying on rules of thumb or standard workflows
  • Knowledge of the state-of-the-art in geophysical data collection and analysis methods and a continued awareness of the best available technology and trends of new technology development, e.g., through reading literature, participation in conferences and training, and maintaining contacts with other practitioners
  • A track record of innovation in geophysical exploration methods or analysis of geophysical data; research experience or other published work is a plus but not required
  • Eagerness also to extract new insights out of historic, messy, and fragmentary data
  • Strong working knowledge of at least one programming or scripting language (e.g., Python, R, C/C++) and experience with scientific computing

Non-technical skills:

  • Demonstrated leadership skills including the ability to motivate and inspire others, to share ownership and responsibility for project outcomes, and to work effectively and enjoy working in collaborative, interdisciplinary teams
  • A strong track record of coaching and training geoscientists of varying experience, educational backgrounds, and cultures in leading-practice mineral exploration
  • Demonstrated commitment to high standards of health and safety in the workplace
  • Insatiable intellectual curiosity

Training and work experience:

  • A minimum of 10 years' experience in the mineral exploration industry (or 5 years post-Ph.D.); title and compensation will be commensurate with experience
  • An M.Sc. or higher degree in a geoscience field or in a related physical science (Ph.D. is a plus)
  • Professional registration preferred

KoBold Metals is an equal opportunity workplace and an affirmative action employer. We are committed to equal employment opportunity for people of any race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, or veteran status.

This position is full-time, exempt.

Location: We are open to candidates anywhere in the world. KoBold Metals has offices in Vancouver, BC and Berkeley, CA, and a presence in Zambia.

Interested applicants should email with a resume and a cover letter that describes your perspective on geophysical data collection and analysis and addresses the items enumerated in the problem-solving approach section above. Candidates should state whether they currently have authorization to work in the US or Canada.

posted: 22 February 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.