News Supply chain

LME backs metals blockchain consortium with ING, Mercuria

mining metals

A new blockchain metals consortium dubbed “Forcefield” is in the works with backing from the London Metal Exchange (LME) according to the Financial Times. The group also includes major commodities trader Mercuria and banks ING and Macquarie. Similar to the oil blockchain network VAKT, Forcefield will target post-trade processes.

Hence the project will provide traceability for metals as well as safeguarding inventory ownership.

Mercuria and ING are also part of VAKT. And ING and Macquarie are members of komgo the trade finance joint venture focused on commodities.

ING is involved in numerous blockchain networks including Canadian blockchain startup Minehub. Announced in January, Minehub is targeting the supply chain of the $1.8 trillion mining and metals market. With IBM as technology partner, other Minehub participants include Goldcorp, Kutcho Copper, Ocean Partners USA and Wheaton Precious Metals.

Conflict minerals are a hot topic in the sector, and there are even blockchain guidelines provided by the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI). The RMI group aims to help companies make informed choices about responsibly sourced minerals. Its members include a long list of household names in manufacturing, consumer goods and retail.

As a result, there are blockchain projects focused on conflict minerals. In January IBM announced a plan to trace Cobalt in conjunction with Ford, LG Chem and Chinese processor Huayou Cobalt. Cobalt is used in batteries, and Huayou Cobalt is an approved Apple smelter. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is home to two-thirds of the world’s Cobalt reserves, and about 20% of its output is from informal or artisanal mines which often have unsafe working conditions.

Another high-risk area is Rwanda where mining output includes the tantalum mineral used in consumer electronics. Startup Circulor has partnered with the Rwandan government and another Apple supplier, PRG Resources on a blockchain project that’s already in production.

Commodity Consortium/ Company
Agribusiness ABCCD: ADM, Bunge, Cargill, COFCO, Dreyfus
Sugar Al Khaleej Sugar
Gold, Silver Tradewind
Metals Minehub
Cobalt IBM, Ford +
Tantalum Circulor
Trade finance komgo