American IT giant IBM, Michigan-based automaker Ford, China-based cobalt supplier Huayou Cobalt, and South Korea-based cathode maker LF Chem are collaborating together for a Blockchain-based project to track and manage cobalt supplies from the African nation of Congo.
The pilot Blockchain project will be supervised RCS Global, a leader in data-driven responsible-sourcing of natural resources.
The aim of the project is to monitor cobalt supplies from the Democratic of Congo to ensure that they have not been the source of any conflict or have not been mined by children.
As consumers become more and more aware about the truth of the sourcing of natural resources, there is increased pressure on companies to provide support to their claims that the resources used by have not infringed upon human rights. However, tracking resources throughout the supply chain can become a daunting task.
As per an announcement by the project in question, the collaboration has been in the works since December 2018. The pilot is monitoring the supplies of cobalt all through the supply chain to when it finally ends up in the batteries of automobiles produced by the American giant Ford.
Congo, a nation in Central Africa, houses huge supplies of cobalt- an element the requirement of which is set to increase in times to come due to the increasing quantity of electronic devices and electric vehicles.
The Blockchain pilot project is slated to be completed in the mid of 2019.
The process to be followed involves placing of the cobalt from industrial mines in secure bags, it is thus entered into a digital ledger, and subsequently, its movement is monitored from the mines in Congo to cathode plants in South Korea, to Ford’s automobile plants in the United States.
RCS has announced that in the future IBM’s Blockchain platform could be leveraged to incorporate other minerals. The transformative Blockchain technology will facilitate the integration of artisanal miners in the Blockchain network as validated participants. Analysts are of the view that such a network will resolve the issue of unethical mining by involving miners who often face exploitation.