Blockchain solution for global mining and metals supply chain

On 16 January, IBM announced it is working on a project in partnership with MineHub Technologies, a Canadian technology company specialized in the mining and metals industry, to build a blockchain-based platform for that sector. The new supply chain management platform, which will be built on the cloud-based IBM Blockchain Platform, is aimed at reducing costs, increasing transparency and contributing to sustainable production and trading.

The project is an industry-wide approach to enhance efficiency in the global mining and metals sector, which is estimated to be worth US$1.8 trillion. Manual, paper-based processes and a lack of transparency between supply chain participants have traditionally been causes of inefficiency in this industry. This blockchain platform will help to address this by creating a shared ledger offering a single, real-time view of all transactions. Furthermore, all data can be seen by the authorized participants throughout the supply chain. The consortium of project partners – Goldcorp, ING Bank, Kutcho Copper, Ocean Partners and Wheaton Precious Metals – covers key areas of the supply chain, from mining and streaming to trade and finance.

Vince Sorace, Founder and CEO of MineHub, explains: “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. This creates the opportunity for transformative efficiencies and cost reductions throughout all aspects of operations.” The first use case will manage concentrate from Goldcorp’s Penasquito Mine in Mexico throughout its path to market. When ore is mined, the mining company will upload data, including sustainability and ethical practices, allowing independent verification from regulators to end users as required. When materials are loaded for transport, the MineHub platform can record each transaction and allow permissioned parties to view and reconcile information throughout the journey.

Automation and cost savings

The MineHub supply chain platform is built on the cloud-based IBM Blockchain Platform, powered by the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric – an open-source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. This brings automation and cost savings, and enables greater security, transparency, auditability and efficiency among participants. IBM has come to be recognized as a leading enterprise blockchain provider, with a number of its blockchain applications already running live and in production. MineHub and IBM plan to collaborate on new ways to scale and expand the platform, identify new use cases and incorporate innovative technologies into the platform in the future.