Responsible sourcing blockchain network for minerals moves closer to production

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The Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBN), a blockchain network committed to strengthening human rights and environmental protection in mineral supply chains, announced Wednesday that its digital supply chain for cobalt has moved beyond pilot phase and is progressing toward use in live production computing environments starting in spring 2020.

The pilot succeeded in linking each phase of the supply chain from mine to original equipment manufacturer (OEM), RSBN said in a media statement.

Built on the IBM Blockchain Platform and assured by RCS Global Group, RSBN will have continued participation from founding members including Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen Group, LG Chem and Huayou Cobalt.

RSBN and its participants are building an open, industrywide blockchain platform to trace responsibly produced minerals from source through to end product

RSBN also announced that starting Wednesday, Volvo Cars will join the network as its newest member with further partners from the auto, tech and mining sectors expected to join this year.

RSBN and its participants are building an open, industrywide blockchain platform to trace responsibly produced minerals from source through to end product, with RCS Global assessing each participating entity against responsible sourcing requirements set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and industry bodies.  

“We are setting in motion a process of mainstreaming responsible sourcing practices across major industries,” said Dr. Nicholas Garrett, CEO of RCS Global Group. “We’ve reached significant new milestones as we’ve moved beyond testing, proving the merits of this coupled technology and assurance model can extend to a wide range of participants across every tier of the supply chain and to other minerals.”

In initial testing, the RSBN blockchain demonstrated how cobalt produced at Huayou’s industrial mine site in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could be traced through the supply chain to LG Chem’s cathode and battery plant in South Korea, and then to its final destination, a Ford plant in the United States.

An immutable audit trail captured on the platform delivered corresponding data providing documentation for the initial ethical cobalt production, its maintenance and its ethical provenance from mine to end manufacturer.

The next move is expansion into other battery metals, including lithium and nickel, the platform is also actively working to progress the solution to support tracing other common metals including tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, also known as 3TG. Further announcements will be made over the initial pilot consortiums in the additional raw materials. 

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