The World Economic Forum (WEF) along with seven metals and mining companies, announced a blockchain consortium to enable supply chain transparency and develop sustainability solutions.
Founding members of The Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative include Antofagasta Minerals, Eurasian Resources Group Sàrl, Glencore, Klöckner & Co, Minsur, Tata Steel and Anglo American/De Beers (Tracr). Tracr is the diamond blockchain project initiated by De Beers which also involves Russian miner ALROSA.
There are several other metals and mining consortiums, but this latest initiative boasts many industry heavyweights with backing from WEF. The consortium will primarily work on addressing the lack of standardizations, track the provenance of the material, increase efficiency and track carbon emissions.
“The industry needs to respond to the increasing demands of minerals and materials while responding to increasing demands by consumers, shareholders and regulators for a higher degree of sustainability and traceability of the products,” said Jörgen Sandström, Head of the Mining and Metals Industry, World Economic Forum.
The consortium members will collaborate on proofs-of-concept to develop a blockchain platform, establish working groups and build governance. WEF said its motive is to enable inclusivity and cross-company collaboration.
The reason this consortium stands out it due to its focus on interoperability. It aims to connect all upstream and downstream partners, providing better co-operation and streamline processes. Its independence is a key advantage.
“This blockchain consortium – with collaboration between forwarding thinking companies, and regulators, NGOs and technology providers – with blockchain and distributed ledger technology has a great potential for industry adoption and value creation,” said Gisbert Rühl, CEO of Klöckner & Co.
A direct competitor to this consortium is already live at the moment. The blockchain platform developed by Canadian blockchain firm Minehub tracks mineral production, manages contracts with buyers and streamlines post-trade processes like financing and logistics. IBM, ING and a few mining companies worked with Minehub to develop the platform.
ING is also part of the blockchain metals consortium Forcefield along with the London Metals Exchange, Macquarie and commodities trader Mercuria. The project targets post-trade processes.
Meanwhile, IBM is working with LG, Ford, Volkswagen, Huayou Cobalt, and RCS Global on a blockchain pilot for cobalt provenance.
In the U.S., Tradewind Markets is working on a gold and silver trading platform which tracks the movement and provenance of the precious metal. While the trading platform itself is not based on distributed ledger technology, the asset custody solution is underpinned by R3’s Corda blockchain.