Blockchain-assisted Mineral Supply Chain Due Diligence
The goal of this project was to create a blockchain-enabled system for tracking the provenance of certain raw materials produced in conflict-affected and high-risk areas – e.g. Conflict Minerals (3TG) – across the entire supply chain via verified, cryptographically secured transactions. With support from the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM), the project has been piloted in 2019 along a mineral supply chain originating from Rwanda.
Tracking Accountablity from Mine to Store
iPoint, in collaboration with BetterChain, has developed a supply chain tracking system from mine to store, thereby demonstrating the relevance of upstream supply chain information to consumer brands’ due diligence. Blockchain technology supports data reporting onto a decentralized network. It provides downstream supply chain participants and end-users access to reliable and verified data on all relevant stages of the supply chain while preserving the commercial confidentiality of supply chain intermediaries.
Pilot Project: Minerals in the African Great Lakes Region
The project was piloted for minerals sourced in the African Great Lakes Region and ran until May 2019. Our prototype set of systems has been applied to a pilot mineral supply chain of tungsten by involving all relevant supply chain economic operators such as the mining operator, participating trader, smelter, and manufacturing companies, as well as other key stakeholders (mining community, government). Creating an eco-system based on blockchain technology enables companies to mutually verify if the pilot, OECD-compliant mining operation is present in their supply chain. This will pave the way for new incentive models stimulating demand for minerals and metals that are responsibly sourced from Rwanda.
Challenges, opportunities, and benefits
Manufacturing companies rely on declarations from their suppliers to gather and manage critical compliance information about materials, metals, and minerals in their end products. This process requires significant time and resources to compensate for fragmented data and systems around provenance, traceability, compliance and due diligence.
By combining a chain-of-custody solution, providing traceability and provenance, with Due Diligence information in the same solution, SustainBlock replaces “declaration” with “verification”.
This provides several benefits, starting with improved trust between you and your trade partners, which helps accelerate the automation of supply chain workflows whilst protecting trade secrets and confidentiality. For example, this enables both manufacturers and suppliers to verify certifications and other due diligence information at the mine level.
This leads to increased efficiency and risk reduction, achieved by integrating trusted compliance information into the flow of raw materials and products.
Methods & Objectives
SustainBlock was a blockchain-based project to demonstrate the presence of artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) mine sites in the supply chain of mineral and metal end-users, and in turn provide downstream companies with access to information on the provenance of minerals contained in their products.
Long Term Objective
The long-term objective of the project was to establish a self-sustained, openly accessible supply chain traceability regime which offers a cost-effective way to effectively track the origin of mineral supply chains, verify the evolution of commodity procurement practices in real-time, and incentivize end-user engagement towards the improvement of local circumstances, particularly in the gold and 3T mining sectors.
How you can benefit from SustainBlock
Check out our software that leverages the results of the SustainBlock project: