Rwanda Implements Blockchain Initiative to Track Tantalum


Circulor and PRG are currently using a blockchain platform to track Rwanda’s tantalum across the supply chain. Most of the world’s tantalum used in consumer electronics comes from Rwanda, and investors are looking for conflict-free minerals.

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UK-based startup Circulor is working with Power Resources Group (PRG), which manages mining (not to be confused with cryptocurrency mining) and refining operations in Rwanda and Macedonia, to implement a blockchain-based project in Rwanda, a country in East Africa. The initiative is endorsed by the local government and aims to use the technology to record the origin of metals used in electronics, with a focus on tantalum.  

The project was announced by Francis Gatare, CEO of Rwanda’s Mining, Petroleum and Gas Board. He said during a meeting of the Rwandan Mining Association:

“Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board today has been introduced to a new and innovative mineral traceability solution using blockchain technology. The initiative is already being implemented by at least one exporter from Rwanda.”

Gatare, who is also a Rwandan Government minister, told Reuters that blockchain had the capability to ensure a more efficient way of delivering traceability for commodities, including minerals.

Under the initiative, companies will be able to apply the platform provided by Circulor to trace tantalum coming from Rwanda and monitor its entire supply chain journey. PRG, which delivers tantalum clients including smartphone maker Apple, has managed a trial and now it is using the blockchain system.

Circulor CEO Douglas Johnson-Poensgen commented:

“Circulor’s technology will bring greater transparency to the tantalum supply chain. Our blockchain platform will empower consumers to understand where the materials in the products they buy come from and also make it harder for materials that are not ethically sourced to pass through the supply chain.  It will also dramatically reduce costs for miners who current shoulder a disproportionate share of the cost of compliance.”

The goal of the project is to eliminate conflict minerals from supply chains. To achieve this, Circulor’s platform applies GPS tracking and facial recognition to ensure a high degree of system transparency and security and prevent corruption. The company will also help local miners comply with the rigorous guidelines established in international deals.

The blockchain platform used for the project is based on Hyperledger Fabric and heavily relies on smart contracts, which can easily automate processes and reduce the number of intermediaries.

In March of this year, we reported that Circulor was helping German car manufacturer BMW to track cobalt coming from Democratic Republic of Congo.



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