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Eurasian Resources Group (ERG)

Lithium-ion supply chain launches end-to-end cobalt traceability initiative

Fri, 05/28/2021 - 09:22 -- Paul Crompton
Lithium-ion supply chain launches end-to-end cobalt traceability initiative

Companies from the lithium-ion industry will pilot a system for tracing responsibly produced cobalt from the mine to the end product.

The Re|Source system will be piloted by metals and mining companies CMOC, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) and Glencore in collaboration with battery material supplier Umicore.

An unnamed “global EV pioneer” and an unnamed “leading battery maker” are also part of the pilot. 

The pilot will run until the end of 2021, with the roll-out of the final solution expected next year.

The system will be tested in real operating conditions, from upstream cobalt production sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to downstream electric vehicle production sites.

Founded by CMOC, ERG and Glencore, and launched in 2019, Re|Source was later joined by Umicore, as well as the battery and EV company. 

The system uses various technologies, including: blockchain and Zero-Knowledge Proofs, to link digital flows with physical material flows on the ground. 

The system is supported by boutique technology studio Kryha, which is experienced in carbon footprint and metals traceability and known for projects with the World Economic Forum. 

Re|Source also has a direct link with the Battery Passport project of the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), through ERG, Umicore, Glencore and other Re|Source pilot partners, members of the GBA. 

Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore, said: “Blockchain technology offers us an unprecedented ability for traceability in the supply chain. 

"Through this pilot, we are supporting the development of this tool for our customers who seek to understand and demonstrate the origin of the cobalt units in their products. 

"But traceability is not enough on its own, it must be part of a wider industry effort to bring improvements to the entire cobalt supply chain. 

"This starts with responsible sourcing compliance, for example through RMI; the collective use of wider ESG standards such as CIRAF and ICMM; and supporting the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sector through multi-stakeholder initiatives like the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA).”

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