Major metals and mining companies CMOC, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) and Glencore in collaboration with battery material supplier Umicore are piloting ReISource, a solution to trace responsibly produced cobalt from the mine to the electric car.

A global electric vehicle (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.

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.

Founded by CMOC, ERG and Glencore and launched in 2019, Re|Source was later joined by Umicore, as well as a battery company and an EV producer. It is 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.

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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.

Solution a vital milestone

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, Copper Mark and others. The solution therefore also explores how aspects of the related GHG emissions along the value chain can be traced and disclosed.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of ERG and co-chair of the Global Battery Alliance, said, “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.”

Read: Clean cobalt framework initiated in the DRC

In addition to EV supply chain majors, Re|Source is developed with the involvement of a broad group of industry advisors and stakeholders. The solution reflects their expectations about all aspects of sustainably sourced materials and is designed to be used by wide-ranging industry players.

Re|Source also has a direct link with the Battery Passport project of the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), through ERG, Umicore, Glencore and other Re|Source pilot partners who are members of the GBA. The Battery Passport is aimed at transforming the entire value chain to make battery production more responsible and sustainable. The member companies believe that these projects support each other and together they will deliver on the overarching agenda of increasing sustainability in the wider battery supply chain.