Tech

Paul How

IBM blockchain to track mineral production and distribution

Vancouver-based MineHub Technologies will be tracking mineral concentrates from production to delivery with the IBM Blockchain Platform.

In a press release, the mining company said it was collaborating with Goldcorp Inc., ING Bank, Kutcho Copper Corp., Ocean Partners USA Inc., and Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. to improve supply chains.

According to MineHub, the $1.8-trillion global mining and metals market has long been inefficient, relying on paper-based processes, and with a lack of transparency between businesses. The IBM blockchain will be used for all participants to have access to an immutable ledger of transactions, from mining, to streaming, trade, and finance.

MineHub CEO Vince Sorace said of the partnership, “By digitizing the supply chain, we can increase the level of automation, reduce reliance on intermediaries and increase the speed at which goods are transferred from miners to end buyers,” while significantly lowering costs.

IBM Global Industrial Products General Manager Manish Chawla said, “By bringing together stakeholders at different points across the mining and minerals supply chain, MineHub is building a platform that has the potential to bring new levels of efficiency and trust to the mining industry.”

Initially, blockchain will be used in the management of concentrate from Goldcorp’s Penasquito Mine in Mexico. Data will be uploaded regarding the manner in which ore is mined, to be checked by regulators and end users. The transport of materials will likewise be monitored. Afterwards, smart contracts will be fashioned for other processes.

The IBM Blockchain Platform is powered by the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric.

MineHub said it plans to eventually increase collaborations for the blockchain project, and in that way promote innovation and new uses for the technology.

ING Global Head of Metals and Mining Arnout van Heukelem said that blockchain has the potential to eliminate or reduce many operational challenges in the mining sector, which would “contribute to sustainable production and trading.”

Already, ING has used blockchain in the energy sector with oil platform VAKT, in trade finance with Komgo and Voltron, and in the soft commodity sector, according to Heukelem.

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