Miners Glencore & CMOC to Trial Blockchain Platform for Cobalt Supply Chain Tracking
In the past few years, ensuring accountable cobalt souring procedures has turned out to be the key aim of academics, human rights watch groups and other environmentalists.
In this regard, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is the origin of more than 70% of the global cobalt, has become a center of attention on extreme risks related to human rights.
In the meantime, minimal regulated deep sea mining of nickel and cobalt has fueled the worries among professionals over its negative impact on environment.
The latest statement by international miners such as CMOC, Glencore and Eurasian Resources Group, along with battery material provider Umicore, indicates that corporate players are exploring blockchain technology to resolve a considerable portion of the issue.
The four enterprises will trial a blockchain platform called Resource in real-world working environment i.e. tracking the mineral from mining producing cobalt in Congo to end user of the commodity, which is electric vehicle production facility.
The trial will continue until the end of 2021, with commercialization of the platform intended for 2022. Even though blockchain has considerable ability to enhance transparency and tracking, Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg stated:
“Traceability is not enough on its own, it must be part of a wider industry effort to bring improvements to the entire cobalt supply chain. This starts with responsible sourcing compliance, for example through RMI [Responsible Minerals Initiative]; the collective use of wider ESG [Environmental, Social, and Governance] standards […]; and supporting the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo sector through multi-stakeholder initiatives like the Fair Cobalt Alliance.”
Two years back, three miners introduced RelSource platform and Umicore, along with another unidentified electric vehicle manufacturer, joined hands later. The system utilizes zero-knowledge proofs along with blockchain and has been created using blockchain studio Kryha, which has earlier worked on applications for greenhouse emission and metals tracking, and has also partnered with the World Economic Forum.
RelSource is also connected straightaway with the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), which is a Battery Passport Project. All the founding members are part of GBA. Notably, top automobile companies such as Volvo and Mercedes Benz have also been working with a blockchain firm named Circular to trial the utilization of blockchain to enhance tracking of cobalt, with a stress on reducing carbon emissions.