Blockchain in mining

Blockchain Finds Application in Rwandan Mining Industry

Lately, industries across the world have been witnessing the implementation of Blockchain technology across processes for the purpose of streamlining operations. The landlocked East-African country of Rwanda is next in line to deploying Blockchain technology. It was reported that the nation is utilizing Blockchain for the purpose of tracking tantalum, a metal that is widely used in the consumer electronics industry. This came after concerns were raised over conflicting minerals in the markets.

The Blockchain project was announced by the CEO of the country’s Petroleum and Gas Board, Francis Gatare, on October 16, 2018, at a meeting of the Rwandan Mining Association. Gatare is also a cabinet minister. At the meeting he was quoted as saying that the country is on its way to implementing an innovative mineral traceability solution. It was also revealed that one exporter from the nation has already successfully deployed the process.

The news is of importance because the African nation is one of the world’s primary exporters of tantalum metal concentrates. In fact, Rwanda produces around 50 percent of the world’s global supply of the lustrous transition metal. However, global markets have increasingly become wary of Rwanda’s reputation as the world leader amid agreements that aim to prohibit the illicit trade of the metal.

Rwandan government is partnering with the UK-based startup Circulor to assist in the technical aspects of Blockchain project. Circulor offers supply chain management solutions on the Hyperledger Fabric. The project, in fact, aims to promote ethical sourcing of metals.

The Blockchain platform will assist in the tracking of tantalum mined in the East-African nation across the entire supply chain. PRG Resources, a mining firm which supplies Apple with the metal is said to have taken part in the pilot of the Blockchain-based project.

The CEO of London-based Circulor, was quoted as saying:

“Circulor will not only assist miners in Rwanda to adhere to strict guidelines laid out in international agreements to remove conflict minerals from the supply chain but will also record all the production stages before a smartphone or computer reaches the consumer.”

The mining industry is seeing increased deployment of distributed ledger technology and smart contracts for the purpose of tracing the origins of metals. Earlier this year, the diamond mining corporate, De Beers, conducted a Blockchain project pilot which traced diamonds through the entire supply chain- from mining to retail. Not long after, China-based ZhongAn Technology developed a Blockchain application that tracked gems. The app aims to achieve traceability of products in the luxury industry.