Tech giant IBM has recently partnered with American carmaker Ford, South Korean cathode producer LG Chem and Chinese company Huayou Cobalt to reveal a pair of ambitious projects. The separate projects have for aim to monitor and track supply chains for the metal industry. Furthermore, as reported by Reuters magazine, both initiatives have for goal to “ensure that cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries has not been mined by children or used to fuel conflict”.The projects are set to operate through the Hyperledger Fabric, an IBM blockchain platform.
Once completed, one of the projects will track cobalt coming from a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to a plant owned by Ford Motor Company, while the other will track metals traveling from a mine in Mexico.
More specifically, during the pilot supervised by RCS Global, around 1.5 ton of raw cobalt will depart from a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo next month to be refined in China, then sent to a battery plant in South Korea to finally end up as batteries in electric cars produced by Ford Motor Group in the United States. In total, the procedure will last approximately 5 months and will be tracked using Blockchain technology.
The partnership and agreement were catalyzed by the constant pressure placed on the companies from the consumers and investors to demonstrate that minerals are mined without human right abuses especially in Congo. Despite being political unstable and recovering from a war, The DRC is still an important producer of cobalt.
According to RCS global, the IBM blockchain platform could be used to track other minerals. Additionally, the platform will allow hardworking miners (which according to analysts are the worry with regard to ethical mining) to join and participate in the blockchain based network. Blockchain technology at its finest is a system that operates by providing a shared record of data held by a network of computers rather than just a centralized one. So for these initiatives set to be completed halfway through the year, all the cobalt produced will be traced and controlled through IBM’S blockchain system encouraging the utmost transparency.
IBM blockchain platform is known to have already been used by major retailers such as Walmart and Carrefour to track food through supply chains.
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