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ERG implements a blockchain solution on the IBM Blockchain Platform to support its Clean Cobalt Framework at Metalkol RTR

21.01.2019

Pilot aims to improve the traceability of cobalt and the solution can be applied to other battery metals, helping to ensure a responsible supply chain for lithium-ion batteries that power the Fourth Industrial Revolution; a mission of the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance

Metalkol RTR is ERG’s hydrometallurgical plant in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and has a target capacity of 24kt of cobalt per annum

Eurasian Resources Group (“ERG” or “the Group”), a founding member of the Global Battery Alliance, a World Economic Forum initiative, announced that it will be piloting a blockchain-based solution built on the IBM Blockchain Platform. The solution will initially be applied at the Group’s Metalkol RTR operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to help enhance the provenance and traceability of cobalt in the metal’s supply chain. 

While cobalt and other metals such as copper, nickel and lithium drive the global battery sector, their extraction may come at high cost for the surrounding ecosystem, including the use of child labour and pollution which is compounded by the current dearth of viable reuse and recycling systems. The blockchain-based solution helps to ensure that the material is traceable.

The blockchain thus supports ERG’s Clean Cobalt Framework at Metalkol RTR, a reprocessing plant for historic copper and cobalt tailings from previous mining operations, which is nearing operation. At full capacity, the facility will supply 24,000 t/y of cobalt to the global market, volumes sufficient to power more than 3 million electric vehicles per year.

Niels de Jongh, Executive Partner IBM Global Business Services: “"ERG’s initiative to implement a blockchain solution to bring together stakeholders across the cobalt supply chain can help transform entire business processes in the mining industry and help bring new levels of trust. Leveraging IBM’s digital capabilities enables parties to develop the solution through an interactive approach with clear business focus.” 

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group and co-chair of the Global Battery Alliance, said: “We are delighted to announce this on the eve of discussions on the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the Annual Meeting in Davos. Cobalt is one of the key enablers of the Revolution and a material of the future, so it is imperative that it can be sourced in a sustainable way. This blockchain-based solution will aim to enable manufacturers to confirm that the cobalt was sourced at Metalkol RTR by aggregating the necessary data and information on the raw material.” 

Leveraging IBM’s blockchain platform and expertise, the platform will aim to determine the provenance of cobalt throughout the supply chain, from extraction to production, a process that is currently complex and costly. Using blockchain will allow to track origin of cobalt across the supply chain, including once it’s been to smelter and blended, and reduce costs through efficient information sharing, tracking and transparency according to the highest standards. 

“As a founding member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance, ERG aims to create new standards in the industry. We are therefore pleased to be piloting this innovative blockchain-based solution on the IBM platform. This way we can guarantee with certainty that the material that customers buy is not tainted with artisanally produced material,” added Mr Sobotka.

 

Blockchain

Blockchain is a digital ledger system that brings new levels of trust, transparency and speed to complex market systems, whether they be trading systems, financial markets or global supply chains. 

Leveraging IBM’s blockchain platform and expertise, the platform will aim to determine the provenance of cobalt throughout the supply chain, from extraction to production, a process that is currently complex and costly. Using blockchain will reduce costs through efficient information sharing, tracking and transparency according to the highest standards.

A blockchain network can help unlock vast potential for the cobalt supply chain.

The blockchain-based cobalt mining platform will be able to track origin of cobalt across the supply chain, including once it’s been to smelter and blended.