Five distinct multinational organisations have joined forces to bring transparency into the global mineral supply chains by implementing the blockchain technology.
In order to show their support to human rights and environmental protection, Ford Motor Company, Huayou Cobalt, IBM, LG Chem and RCS Global have come together to use the technology to trace and validate ethically sourced minerals. Each of these companies, which stand at every major level of the supply chain, will start with a pilot together focussed on cobalt and explore the creation of an open industry-wide blockchain platform.
The pilot is already in progress and seeks to show how materials in the supply chain are responsibly produced, traded and processed. This project, which is based on a simulated sourcing scenario, will track the cobalt produced at Huayou’s industrial mine site in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through the supply chain as it travels from mine to smelter to LG Chem’s cathode and battery plant in South Korea, and eventually into Ford’s facility in America. A permanent audit trail will then be created on the blockchain that will contain the corresponding data to provide evidence of the cobalt production from stage one to the end manufacturer.
The participants in the supply chain network will be authorised against responsible sourcing standards developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The blockchain technology is being used widely across almost every industry. In November, IBM’s latest patent focused on how blockchain technologies could be used for scientific research. This patent was filed in May 2018 by Jae-Wook Ahn, Marian Chang, Ravindranath Kokku and Patrick Watson, the inventors behind the technology. They said: “Currently, there are limited platforms that allow for sharing information about scientific research and showing transparent data collection and analysis steps. Platforms that do exist lack the requisite controls and mechanisms to allow for trustworthy data, as there are few options for ensuring that data will be resistant to modification.”
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