Ford, Volkswagen, LG and Volvo plan to launch a cobalt monitoring pilot project during its production refining process next year.

The Network Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network (RSBA), an international consortium based on Hyperledger Fabric, announced Wednesday that it has completed a pilot project to protect against mining practices. The companies sent 1.5 tons of Congolese cobalt on three different continents in five months of refinement, paving the way for the commissioning of the project in the spring of 2020.

While Ford, Volkswagon and LG were already part of the project, Volvo joined Wednesday, according to a press release.

RCS Global Group, the auditors of the solution, stated that the cobalt pilot project complied with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) procurement standards since its inception in a Congolese mine, up to its sophistication in South Korea and up to its target: an American motor vehicle plant company.

LG Chem, the largest Korean chemical company, has developed batteries.

According to the Cobalt Institute, cobalt-based components account for between 10% and 20% of the preferred consumers of lithium-ion battery manufacturers.

Martina Buchhauser, Purchasing Manager at Volvo, said in a statement that the Swedish automaker has always prioritized the ethical sourcing of minerals. This technology pursues this goal, she said, adding:

"With blockchain technology, we can take a new step by ensuring complete traceability of our supply chain and minimizing the associated risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers."

Expand the supply chain

Dr. Nicholas Garrett, CEO of RCS Global Group, said in a statement that RSBN hoped to improve global ethical supply chains and would build on lessons learned.

"We have made significant new milestones beyond testing, demonstrating the benefits of this coupled technology and this insurance model that can be extended to a wide range of participants at all levels of the industry." supply chain and other minerals, "he said.

RSBN plans to add more battery minerals to its tracking platform, including lithium and nickel. From there, he will look for ways to trace tungsten, tantalum, tin and gold.

Garrett was optimistic for the future of the RSBN blockchain and its role as auditor:

"We expect a significant positive social impact from our work."

Image of the Congolese mine via Flickr

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