Credit: ERG

Luxembourg-headquartered Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) is set to implement a blockchain solution on the IBM Blockchain Platform to support its Clean Cobalt Framework at Metalkol RTR.

ERG, a founding member of the Global Battery Alliance, a World Economic Forum initiative, has announced that it will be piloting a blockchain-based solution built on the IBM Blockchain Platform. The solution will initially be applied at the Group’s Metalkol RTR operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to help enhance the provenance and traceability of cobalt in the metal’s supply chain. While cobalt and other metals such as copper, nickel and lithium drive the global battery sector, their extraction may come at a high cost for the surrounding ecosystem, including the use of child labour and pollution which is compounded by the current lack of viable reuse and recycling systems.  

The blockchain-based solution thus helps to ensure that the material is traceable. The blockchain thus supports ERG’s Clean Cobalt Framework at Metalkol RTR, a reprocessing plant for historic copper and cobalt tailings from previous mining operations, which is nearing operation. At full capacity, the facility will supply 24,000 t/y of cobalt to the global market, volumes sufficient to power more than 3 million electric vehicles per year.

Leveraging IBM’s blockchain platform and expertise, the platform will aim to determine the provenance of cobalt throughout the supply chain, from extraction to production, a process that is currently complex and costly. Using blockchain will allow to track the origin of cobalt across the supply chain, including once it has been to smelter and blended and reduce costs through efficient information sharing, tracking and transparency according to the highest standards.