Major metals and mining companies CMOC, Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) and Glencore in collaboration with battery material supplier Umicore are piloting ReISource, a solution to trace responsibly produced cobalt from the mine to the electric car. A global EV pioneer and one of the world’s leading battery makers are also part of the pilot. Tested in real operating conditions, from upstream cobalt production facilities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to downstream electric vehicle production sites, the pilot will run until the end of 2021, with the roll-out of the final solution expected in 2022.
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).”
Assured through blockchain technology, the solution is a unique industry partnership between EV supply chain majors aiming to accelerate sustainable practices for every unit of cobalt mined, processed and used in end products. Founded by CMOC, ERG and Glencore and launched in 2019, Re|Source was later joined by Umicore, as well as a battery company and an EV producer. It is designed with the direct input of responsible sourcing and supply chain experts from all participating companies, proactively addressing the growing need for cobalt value chain visibility.
The end-to-end collaboration between major cobalt industry players working in the DRC deploys various technologies, including blockchain and Zero-Knowledge Proofs, to link digital flows with physical material flows on the ground. The ground-breaking solution 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.
To meet the consortium’s mission to ensure that all cobalt used in end products will be sustainably sourced, Re|Source integrates a comprehensive set of industrial sustainable mining and sourcing standards and frameworks, such as ICMM, RMI, IRMA, CIRAF1, Copper Mark and others. The solution also explores how aspects of the related GHG emissions along the value chain can be traced and disclosed.
In addition to EV supply chain majors, Re|Source is developed with the involvement of a broad group of industry advisors and stakeholders. The solution reflects their expectations about all aspects of sustainably sourced materials and is designed to be used by wide-ranging industry players.
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, who are members of the GBA. The Battery Passport is aimed at transforming the entire value chain to make battery production more responsible and sustainable. The member companies believe that these projects support each other and together they will deliver on the overarching agenda of increasing sustainability in the wider battery supply chain.