A group of companies from across the globe announced they will collaborate on a program using blockchain technology to monitor cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to sources, U.S. based Ford and IBM will team up with South Korea-based LG Chem and China-based Huayou Cobalt. The project, expected to be completed by the middle of this year, will use blockchain to track the journey of the metal mined in the DRC in an effort to ensure its responsibly sourced. Cobalt is a critical element in lithium ion batteries used to power electric vehicles. As these vehicles become more popular, human rights groups have put more pressure on companies to ensure the materials they use are mined and produced ethically.
According to reports, the DRC is the worlds largest producer of cobalt. 2018 final numbers were not available, but the African nation produced 64,000 tons in 2017. However, the nation has also been wracked with an unstable political climate.