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MineHub Technologies, IBM look to blockchain to improve mineral supply chain

Tony Zerucha

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MineHub Technologies and IBM are looking to the blockchain to help improve operational efficiencies, logistics and financing while lowering costs in the high-value mineral concentrates supply chain.

MineHub, a mining technology company, is working with Goldcorp Inc. (TSX: G), ING Bank (NASD: ING), Kutcho Copper Corp. (TSXV: KC), Ocean Partners USA Inc. and Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (TSX: WPM) to build the new mining supply chain solution on top of the IBM Blockchain Platform.

The estimated $1.8 trillion global mining and metals market has traditionally suffered from inefficiencies due to manual, paper-based processes and a lack of transparency between supply chain participants. Blockchain technology helps address this by providing a shared ledger to create a single, real time view of transactions and data across the supply chain that can be seen by all permissioned participants. Each of the participating companies represent key areas of the supply chain from mining, streaming, trade and finance.

“We are delighted to be working with some of the most forward thinking and innovative companies from each area of the mining and metals industry,” MineHub founder and CEO Vince Sorace said. “By digitizing the supply chain, we can increase the level of automation, reduce reliance on intermediaries and increase the speed at which goods are transferred from miners to end buyers. This creates the opportunity for transformative efficiencies and cost reductions throughout all aspects of operations.

“This is a significant advancement for an industry looking to integrate and use data in ways not previously possible”. 

The first use case will be built on the MineHub platform and will manage concentrate from Goldcorp’s Penasquito Mine in Mexico throughout its path to market. When ore is mined, the mining company will upload data, including sustainability and ethical practices, allowing independent verification from regulators to end users as required. When materials are loaded for transport, the MineHub platform can record each transaction and allow permissioned parties to view and reconcile information throughout its journey. Smart contracts for supply chain processes such as trade finance, streaming and royalty contracts will be used by companies such as Wheaton Precious Metals and other institutions who provide credit facilities such as ING bank.

“As a global leader in banking in the metals and mining sector, we feel many of the operational challenges that our clients face,” ING global head of minerals and mining Arnout van Heukelem said. “Blockchain has the potential to reduce or even overcome these, as shown by our pioneering work in energy with VAKT, in trade finance with Komgo and Voltron, and in the soft commodity sector. I am excited to be working together with MineHub and help our clients in metals and mining lower costs, increase transparency and contribute to sustainable production and trading.”

The MineHub supply chain platform is built on the cloud-based IBM Blockchain Platform, powered by the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric. MineHub plans to expand the collaboration to additional members across the mining industry to encourage innovation and new applications using the technology.

“Blockchain technology can serve as the foundation for transforming entire business processes in the mining industry while creating greater transparency across the supply chain,” said Manish Chawla, general manager, Global Industrial Products, IBM. “By bringing together stakeholders at different points across the mining and minerals supply chain, MineHub is building a platform that has the potential to bring new levels of efficiency and trust to the mining industry.”

MineHub and IBM plan to work together to collaborate on new ways to scale and expand the platform, identify new use cases, and incorporate innovative technologies into the platform in the future.

Tony Zerucha

Tony Zerucha is an alternative finance journalist with more than seven years experience in the space. The author of more than 1,000 articles, Tony was named LendIt's 2018 Journalist of the Year.

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