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BHP, China Baowu execute blockchain transaction using Minehub

iron ore metals mining

Today Canadian blockchain startup MineHub Technologies announced that BHP, the world’s largest mining companies (by market capitalization), executed an iron ore trade with China Baowu on its platform. The Chinese firm, sometimes referred to as Baosteel, was involved in a blockchain transaction for letters of credit two months ago.

According to Reuters, the latest transaction was for $14 million. The Minehub platform, built with assistance from IBM launched last year, but this is its first publicly announced transaction.

“This series of transactions, each focusing on different aspects of the post-trade process, will allow MineHub to incrementally expand the platform’s functionality and scalability into the iron ore and other mineral commodity markets, incorporating real-life user experience,” said Minehub CEO Arnoud Star Busmann.

All commodity sectors are exploring digitizing post trade processes to cut costs. In the oil sector, VAKT processes more than 90% of North Sea crude oil trades and is backed by numerous major oil producers and traders. And for agribusiness, there is Covantis founded by the world’s largest agribusiness firms.

“We will incorporate all these learnings into the next MineHub release, planned for Q4 2020, and which will start to provide a solution to the increasingly urgent need for industry-wide digitalization, by boosting both safety, transparency and resilience of critical supply chains,” said Busmann.

The platform aims to integrate processes including contracting, logistics, specification and financing. It says it’s currently working on base metals concentrates, structured finance and emissions tracking.

As with the other commodities, Minehub isn’t the only blockchain initiative focused on the sector. In terms of metals post-trade, there is Forcefield incorporated in Singapore, which has been a little below the radar. It has involvement from Anglo American, Hartree, Mercuria, ING and ABN Amro, amongst others. ING is also a Minehub partner, and Busmann previously worked at the Dutch bank.

Other initiatives in the sector include projects focused on ethical mining such as the IBM  Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network with members such as Glencore, Ford, VW, Volvo and others. Circulor is a startup that is also very active in this space with Volvo and others. And the World Economic Forum has Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative, which has numerous members such as Anglo American/ De Beers (Tracr), Glencore and Tata Steel.