Minespider, a blockchain protocol for responsible mineral tracking, has been awarded a grant of over €180 000 from the EIT Raw Materials Booster Programme.
Read more: Blockchain makes supply chain transparent
The programme, which is funded by the EIT – a body of the European Union supported under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme – aims to support startups and SMEs in creating innovative products and services that will positively impact the raw materials sector.
With this grant, Minespider will develop OreSource, a due diligence product that helps mines and smelters capture key information that importers in the European Union need in order to comply with EU Conflict Mineral Regulation. The regulation, which comes into force in January 2021, requires that EU importers of 3TG (tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold) perform due diligence to determine whether their material comes from a conflict affected or high-risk area (CAHRA).
Minespider founder and CEO, Nathan Williams says that European importers need to have better access to data to operate in this new regulatory environment and they therefore require certain data to be included with the materials they purchase.
The OreSource product extends the capabilities of Minespider’s open, public blockchain protocol, which allows companies to track their raw material shipments, demonstrating where the materials come from and the conditions under which they were produced. This blockchain creates digital certificates that separate data into three different layers, depending on whether the data should be publicly visible, transparent between members of the same supply chain, or private between a company and their customer.
This allows their clients, including Volkswagen and Google, to share sensitive transparency information with their customers and other supply chain participants securely.
The OreSource app allows mines and smelters to provide information to distinguish their products from the rest of the market. Mines and smelters who use the app upload key data such as bills of lading, invoices, company policies, and third-party certifications, which are assembled into a digital certificate and linked along the supply chain. By affixing a simple QR code to a mineral shipment, or on an invoice, the recipients of the materials have all the data they need to ensure their compliance with the EU regulation, secured on Minespider’s public blockchain protocol.
“Responsible producers are often at a disadvantage in the global market. OreSource is a solid first step toward making responsibly sourced material the norm instead of the exception,” says Williams.
Companies importing material into Europe benefit from this information, as they have everything they need to conduct due diligence. This means they can view transport routes, analyze production site responsibility, and demonstrate a chain of custody for their raw materials. OreSource will also offer analytical tools that allow material importers to identify potential conflict areas and other red flags. This will enable them to ask further questions when needed and ensure all of their imports have been sourced responsibly.
“The EU and other government agencies are spearheading a new global era of
sustainable sourcing. OreSource will support these efforts by ensuring that key data from mineral producers is captured in a transparent manner, and communicated along the supply chain. We are moving away from a world of anonymous commodities, to one of trusted products,” Williams concludes.