The founding member of the Global Battery Alliance (GBA) Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) will pilot a blockchain-based solution based on the IBM Blockchain Solution, to improve the provenance and traceability of cobalt in the metal supply chain.
After yesterday's announcement, ERG explained in a statement that the solution would initially be applied to the group's Metalkol RK operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
While cobalt and other metals such as copper, nickel and lithium drive the global battery industry, their mining could result in high costs for the surrounding ecosystem, including pollution and use. of child labor, exacerbated by the current lack of sustainable reuse and recycling systems, complained ERG.
The blockchain-based solution helps ensure that the material is traceable, the company said.
The blockchain then supports the ERG Clean Cobalt Framework at Metalkol RTR – a reprocessing plant for historic copper and cobalt residues from previous mining activities, which is about to be operational.
At full capacity, the facility will supply 24,000 t / y of cobalt to the global market, sufficient volumes to power over three million electric vehicles per year.
"ERG's initiative to implement a blockchain solution to bring stakeholders together across the cobalt supply chain can help transform entire business processes in the mining industry and help create new levels of trust," said the executive partner IBM Global Business Services. Niels de Jong.
He explained that leveraging IBM's digital capabilities allows parties to develop the solution through an interactive approach with a clear business focus.
CEO of ERG and co-president of the GBA Benedikt Sobotka, meanwhile, stressed that, considering that "cobalt is one of the key factors for the fourth industrial revolution and a material of the future, it is imperative that it can be found in a sustainable way".
This blockchain-based solution, he added, will aim to allow manufacturers to confirm that the cobalt was extracted from Metalkol RTR by aggregating the data and information needed on the raw material.
Leveraging the platform and experience of the IBM blockchain, the platform will aim to determine the origin of cobalt along the entire supply chain, from extraction to production, a currently complex and expensive process.
The use of blockchain will allow to trace the origin of cobalt along the entire supply chain, including once it has been smelter and blend, and to reduce costs through an effective sharing of information, tracking and transparency according to the highest standards.
"As a founding member of the GBA of the World Economic Forum, ERG aims to create new industry standards and we are delighted to drive this innovative blockchain-based solution on the IBM platform," said Sobotka, adding that this allows ERG to guarantee with certainty that the material purchased by customers is not contaminated with handcrafted material.