Multinational mining titan BHP Group expects to complete its first blockchain iron ore transaction with China’s Baowu Steel Group’s listed arm, Baosteel, in the near future.

BHP’s announcement on May 12, as reported by Reuters, followed a yuan-denominated sale of iron ore to Baosteel worth $14.10 million (100 million yuan) last month.

The move toward blockchain digitization of iron ore sales and the choice of renminbi settlement are both being hailed as major innovations in global trade. 

Baowu, now the world’s largest steel producer, has reportedly issued its own statement on a series of recent yuan-denominated deals with BHP and two other leading iron ore suppliers, Rio Tinto and Vale, noting that:

“The active promotion of renminbi settlement in iron ore transactions is not only for operational needs, but also in line with the trend of yuan internationalization.”   

Baowu revealed that it had recently concluded a successful blockchain-supported yuan-denominated purchase with Rio Tinto. 

China is the world’s largest iron ore importer and has seen an 11% increase in imports this April in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which slowed production by domestic steel mills earlier this year.

BHP’s longstanding interest in blockchain 

As reported, BHP has recently tested blockchain technology in a joint pilot with Japanese shipping firm NYK, using the technology to verify sustainable biofuel as part of industry decarbonization efforts.

The corporation, which has over 72,000 employees and contractors worldwide, has been researching the use of the Ethereum blockchain for several years, as the network’s co-founder Vitalk Buterin confirmed to Cointelegraph back in 2017.