In a world first, Minexx has exported minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo with full financial traceability, transparency and trust, by processing US$250 000 of digital, blockchain certified payments.
This is a milestone for the company and the DRC mining sector as it secures the supply chain from the moment a mineral is mined to the point at which it is used in the manufacture of technology, such as smartphones and electric vehicles.
The demand for minerals such as cobalt, copper, tin and tungsten has rapidly increased in line with the growing appetite for technology. Much of this mined raw material is sourced by artisanal miners. An estimated 250 million people depend on this informal industry, many of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Marcus Scaramanga, CEO and co-founder of Minexx, it is the most unsophisticated US$100 billion market in the world. “But through advances in technology, such as blockchain and digital payments, we have an opportunity to reshape this sector, from the moment a mineral comes out of the ground, tracing its journey into our consumer goods.”
Blockchain – the immutable digital ledger – has a critical role in improving the traceability schemes. Coupled with digital payments, it brings the supplychain fully into the financial system while delivering operational efficiencies to reduce the cost to market.
The Minexx blockchain platform, which has global application, enables trade and compliance – bringing benefits to miners, smelters, traders, tech companies and governments while directly impacting 10 of the 17 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Minexx has a strategic partnership with the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and its Frontier Technologies Livestreaming Programme.
The project at mine sites in South Kivu, tested how cooperatives, team leaders, and miners accept digital payments through the Minexx platform. Miners are able to confirm the exchange of ore for income via mobile payment, ensuring miners get paid fairly and on time.
From 1 January this year, the EU brought in new regulations to ensure companies importing tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold, meet international responsible sourcing standards set by the OECD. It requires companies to carry out due diligence from this date by law. The EU regulation also aims to ensure that global and EU smelters and refiners source these minerals responsibly.
“This is good for the miners at one end of the supply chain and consumers at the other. In between, tech companies, along with smelters and refiners, can operate with more certainty about the integrity of their supply chains and the more transactions are flowing in the financial system, the greater the ability of governments to tax. Crucially, it also benefits the artisanal miners. The platform provides an all-round solution to the compromised clean tech transition, bringing traceability, transparency and trust,” concludes Scaramanga.