Two companies have joined forces with the idea of helping tech companies that make use of minerals guarantee the ethical sourcing of such elements and the sharing of information in a secure way.
Finboot, the company behind the enterprise-grade blockchain middleware MARCO, partnered with Minexx, a UK-based tech start-up solving the mineral sourcing problem faced by technology companies.
Minexx is the firm that created MineSmart, a platform that gives technology companies transparency on the origin of the minerals they use to avoid funding conflict or child labour, while also giving them the control to make contracts with the miners directly. In turn, the miners benefit from a fair price for their minerals and access to mining equipment and services, such as electricity and insurance.
Finboot’s MARCO, on the other hand, is an enterprise-grade SaaS platform delivering blockchain capability within value and supply chains globally.
By integrating MARCO into the MineSmart platform, Minexx is now able to certify mineral production and tokenise the credentials, allowing these to be sent across the digital value chain to bring trust to the process.
“Approximately one in eight people in sub-Saharan African countries is dependent upon artisanal mining, yet the industry is poorly regulated and often lacks transparency and fairness,” Marcus Scaramanga, CEO and Founder of Minexx, said in a media statement. “By integrating Finboot’s MARCO technology into our MineSmart platform, we can now harness the power of blockchain to track and record mineral origin data securely. This mutually benefits both the artisanal miners who produce the materials and the technology companies that require them and, consequently, we see a huge amount of growth potential in this market.”
Scaramanga said that a significant proportion of the world’s supply of cobalt and tantalum, both used in smartphones, is produced by artisanal miners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia and Mozambique, where regulations can be lax or non-existent. On top of this, origin data from the mine site passes through seven stages from mine to manufacturer and can be changed along this journey, damaging its credibility.
“This is particularly problematic for EU and US companies, which are subject to legal requirements for traceability and responsible sourcing,” the executive said.
Addressing this issue was the reason behind the partnership with Finboot.
“The ability to verify products’ credentials and communicate these in an auditable, immutable and trusted way is blockchain’s core strength, and our innovative middleware solution MARCO can deliver these capabilities to the Minexx MineSmart platform,” Nish Kotecha, Chairman and Co-Founder of Finboot, said in the press brief. “We look forward to working with the Minexx team as the business continues to grow and make a positive impact on people’s lives.”