World Economic Forum Unveils ‘Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative’

The World Economic Forum (WEF) and seven major mining and metals firms are partnering to develop responsible sourcing and sustainability practices using blockchain.

The Global Mining Review reported details of the new “Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative” on Oct. 25. 

Advancing sustainability, transparency and efficiency

The seven partners, together with the WEF, plan to pool their resources to experiment with, design and deploy joint proofs-of-concept as part of an inclusive blockchain platform.

Rather than acting individually, the initiative aims to foster industry-wide trust through mutual cooperation and to tackle inadequate standardization and prevent fragmentation in the sector.

An industry-wide blockchain initiative has the potential to help the industry both to increase transparency and efficiency and to improve the reporting of carbon emissions, the report notes.

Members will reportedly examine issues related to governance, develop case studies and establish a working group. Key areas of collaboration and development will include carbon emissions tracking and supply chain transparency — with projects to tackle provenance tracking, chain of custody and production methods.

Jörgen Sandström, Head of the Mining and Metals Industry at the WEF, has given a statement outlining that:

“Material value chains are undergoing profound change and disruption. The industry needs to respond to the increasing demands of minerals and materials while responding to increasing demands by consumers, shareholders and regulators for a higher degree of sustainability and traceability of the products.”

Alongside the WEF, the initiative’s members are Antofagasta Minerals, the Eurasian Resources Group, Glencore International AG, Klöckner & Co., Tata Steel Ltd. and Tracr, which represents AngloAmerican and De Beers.

International regulators and NGOs are also expected to provide input for the firms’ collaborative development of blockchain solutions for the industry.

WEF’s blockchain policy guidance

This summer, the WEF published a Blockchain Value Framework guide advising global businesses to invest time in understanding blockchain technology, identifying incentives and accounting for potential risks, and to align its implementation with their strategic priorities.

At the end of May, the WEF had announced the formation of six separate “Fourth Industrial Revolution” councils to work on new technology policy guidance.

Ahead of today’s industry-wide venture, bilateral blockchain projects in the mining and metals sector have included a Tracr pilot for De Beers and Russia’s Alrosa — the world’s largest diamond mining firm.