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Congo to Use Blockchain to Track Cobalt Production

“Blockchain technology is implemented to instil high ethical standards for cobalt mining, and to stop child labour”

The Democratic Republic of Congo will use blockchain technology to track Cobalt production, with the aim of ensuring that cobalt is not mined by children in the country – as reported by Reuters.

The new implementation of blockchain technology comes amid international pressure to ensure ethical standards in Congo’s cobalt mining industry. Businesses in China have already set up a Responsible Cobalt Initiative to ensure proper mining standards in the country. China is the top destination for Congo’s cobalt, which in turn is used for producing lithium-ion batteries, a crucial component for mobile phones.

This is not the first time blockchain technology is used in mining industries. The diamond industry has already used blockchain to track all gems from their origin to buyer, making it difficult to forge the journey of a diamond from production to shop floor.

Congo will see a pilot testing of its blockchain technology somewhere around the end of the year – according to unnamed sources familiar with the matter. Each bag of cobalt produced will be given a digital tag to be registered on the blockchain network via a mobile phone. All details such as weight, time and date will be logged into blockchain, and blockchain will make it challenging for the records to be corrupted.

Harrison Mitchell, director of RCS Global – an advisory body on responsible sourcing – said: “Blockchain-enabled supply chains will have the ability to deliver trust and transparency over the production of metals such as cobalt. Ensuring that information from these mine sites is inputted correctly and transparently is difficult, but it is possible.”

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