ReISource: Glencore leads cobalt blockchain pilot scheme
Glencore has joined forces with battery material supplier Umicore and other major mining and metals companies to trace the cobalt they produce using blockchain technology.
A global EV pioneer and one of the world’s leading battery makers are also part of the pilot. Tested in real operating conditions, from upstream cobalt production facilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to downstream electric vehicle production sites, the pilot will run until the end of 2021, with the roll-out of the final solution expected in 2022.
Glencore’s outgoing CEO Ivan Glasenberg commented: “Blockchain technology offers us an unprecedented ability for traceability in the supply chain. Through this pilot, we are supporting the development of this tool for our customers who seek to understand and demonstrate the origin of the cobalt units in their products.
“Traceability is not enough on its own, it must be part of a wider industry effort to bring improvements to the entire cobalt supply chain. This starts with responsible sourcing compliance, for example through RMI; the collective use of wider ESG standards such as CIRAF and ICMM; and supporting the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sector through multi-stakeholder initiatives like the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA).”
Gary Nagle will succeed Glasenberg as CEO in July 2021 and has also re-affirmed Glencore's commitment to sustainable practices.
Assured through blockchain technology, the solution is a unique industry partnership between EV supply chain majors aiming to accelerate sustainable practices for every unit of cobalt mined, processed and used in end products.
Originally founded in 2019, Re|Source was designed with the direct input of responsible sourcing and supply chain experts from all participating companies, proactively addressing the growing need for cobalt value chain visibility.
The end-to-end collaboration between major cobalt industry players working in the DRC deploys various technologies, including blockchain and Zero-Knowledge Proofs, to link digital flows with physical material flows on the ground. The ground-breaking solution is supported by boutique technology studio Kryha, which is experienced in carbon footprint and metals traceability and known for projects with the World Economic Forum.
To meet the consortium’s mission to ensure that all cobalt used in end products will be sustainably sourced, Re|Source integrates a comprehensive set of industrial sustainable mining and sourcing standards and frameworks, such as ICMM, RMI, IRMA, CIRAF, Copper Mark and others. The solution also explores how aspects of the related GHG emissions along the value chain can be traced and disclosed.
Eurasian Resources Group
Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of ERG and Co-chair of the Global Battery Alliance, commented: “Eurasian Resources Group prides itself on being a leading cobalt producer globally, operating the second-largest standalone cobalt production facility with a design capacity of 24 ktpa. As part of our continued efforts to ensure cobalt is responsibly sourced and processed, a key focus for ERG has been collaborating with leading public and private organisations to respond to the growing battery market powering the energy transition and the low carbon economy, which is the biggest purchase order in history.
“Piloting the Re|Source solution is a vital milestone that brings us one step closer to unveiling the significant potential of batteries, while strengthening transparency and the sustainability of battery materials across the value chain – also a mission of the Global Battery Alliance, of which ERG is a founding member.”