HomeBlockchainIBM: certified ethical minerals on the blockchain

IBM: certified ethical minerals on the blockchain

A pilot project led by IBM to track the origin of minerals using the blockchain will be launched in spring 2020. 

It is a project launched by the Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN), an international consortium that uses Hyperledger Fabric‘s distributed ledger technologies to track the source of raw materials with the aim of preventing exploitative mining practices. 

The project will focus on the responsible sourcing of industrially extracted cobalt, which is in great demand for use in lithium-ion batteries. 

The companies involved are primarily automotive industries, namely Ford, Volkswagen and Volvo, together with LG, and have already sent 1.5 tons of Congolese cobalt to three different continents, paving the way for the project to become operational in spring 2020. 

In particular, it is the cobalt extracted from the Huayou mining site in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which will be traced through the entire supply chain during its transport to the LG Chem battery production plant in South Korea, and then to the automotive companies’ manufacturing plants. 

Hyperledger’s DLTs are used to track data on the origin of cobalt to provide the end producer with evidence of its ethical extraction.

In the future, the use of the new platform should also be extended to other raw materials, including minerals such as tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold, and the so-called rare earth elements. 

Volvo’s Head of Procurement, Martina Buchhauser, said:

“With blockchain technology we can take the next step in ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimizing any related risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers”.

Raw materials that are extracted or produced without compliance with the basic regulations concerning the exploitation of workers, or that are used to finance criminal or terrorist activities, are not few and are extremely difficult to detect once exported. 

This project could help in tracking the supply chain, from its beginning, so as to certify the ethical origin. In fact, although there can be no certainty that the data stored on the DLT correspond to the truth, once entered they can no longer be modified, manipulated or deleted and it is precisely for this reason that the distributed ledgers were chosen as a method of storage and distribution. 


Marco Cavicchioli
Marco Cavicchioli
Born in 1975, Marco has been the first to talk about Bitcoin on YouTube in Italy. He founded ilBitcoin.news and the Facebook group" Bitcoin Italia (open and without scam) ".