An important objective of the program, says the group, is to also help increase transparency in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASMs) and enable these operators to sell their raw materials in the global market, while they meet their internationally ratified responsibility requirements. The network can help enable ASM operators to partner with due diligence data providers and, ultimately, join a blockchain-based network of validated participants. The pilot will also explore the use of incentives or financial benefits for ASMs and their local communities impacted by mining.
The pilot platform is built on the IBM Blockchain Platform and powered by the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Fabric, and is designed to be adopted across industry. The solution is built to allow interested parties of all sizes and roles in the supply chain easy access, including original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across the automotive, electronics, aerospace and defense industries, and their supply chain partners such as mining companies and battery manufacturers.
Supply chain networks will be encouraged to join this open, industry-wide network to trace and validate minerals upon successful completion of the pilot. Work is expected to be extended beyond cobalt into other battery metals and raw materials, including minerals such as tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold - sometimes referred to as "conflict minerals" - as well as rare earths.
Focus industries for the solution include automotive, aerospace and defense, and consumer electronics. There are plans for a governance board representing members across these industries, to help further ensure the platform's growth, functionality and commitment to democratic principles.
The pilot is expected to be completed mid-year 2019.