Blockchain company HashCash Consultants has announced a partnership with a group of international car, mining and battery manufacturers to develop a blockchain-based supply chain network to track minerals.
As Business Insider reported on Nov. 18, the parties are planning to build a blockchain-based supply chain system to trace ethical sourcing of minerals used in car and battery production such as cobalt, tungsten and lithium. By doing this, the companies aim to address child labor for mining operations.
Addressing child labor in minerals mining
The planned network is set to bring more transparency to the entire supply chain of minerals specifically mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In 2017, the United Nations estimated that 168 million children were in exploitative working conditions globally, with around 40,000 children in cobalt mines in the DRC.
With the establishment of the blockchain-based supply chain network, HashCash and partnering companies intend to track the authentication of the provenance and ethical sourcing of minerals, ensuring that each participant — from the mine to the automobile manufacturers — acts in compliance with corresponding regulations.
Blockchain initiatives aimed at tracking minerals’ provenance
Previously, automaker Volvo joined a project to monitor cobalt from DRC overseen by responsible-sourcing group RCS Global, with the aim to prove that their electric vehicles do not rely on conflict minerals or child labor. Automaker Ford, technology giant IBM, South Korean cathode maker LG Chem and Chinese cobalt supplier Huayou Cobalt also participate in the initiative.
Tradewind Markets also launched a system on its platform to track the provenance of its physical gold and other precious metals. The product allows customers to buy and sell physical gold and other precious metals based on individual sourcing preferences, such as mine, artisanal, recycled sources, and the name and geography of the mine where the metal was sourced.