Blockchain: What role in the supply chain of Cobalt in the DR Congo ?
By : Gaby Kabue
The Ministry of Mines report of January 2023 indicates that Cobalt exports were estimated at 15,000 tones in 2022. The DR Congo has more than 65 % of the world's Cobalt reserve. In 2018, the Congolese government issued a decree establishing Cobalt as one of the strategic substances.
The growing exports of this strategic metal of the modern world are justified by the strong demand on the world market due to its role in the manufacture of rechargeable batteries for mobile phones and computers, as well as in the manufacture of electric vehicles.
However, according to UNICEF, the phenomenon of child labor has therefore increased mainly in artisanal mining, which represents 20 % of the Cobalt supply chain. Very often, the industrial and artisanal exploitation of Cobalt causes several impacts on the environment, in particular water and air pollution.
Faced with these challenges, the Blockchain can play a key role in supply chain tracking system for the exploitation of Cobalt in the DR Congo. Furthermore, the Baker Mckenzie study publish in 2018 on “Blockchain & Cryptocurrency in Africa” notes that Dorae Inc. piloted a Blockchain based supply chain tracking system for Cobalt and Coltan mined from three mines in the DR Congo. According to Dorae Inc., if this pilot project is properly managed, the tracking system will mean that end users will have reliable information regarding the source of raw materials and, in doing so, will reduce the use of child labour and and environmentally damaging mining methods.
The Blockchain is a technology for storing and transmitting information, with a high level of security and operating without a central control body. Each data entered in it cannot be modified or falsified. All exchanges between users can be publicly viewed. Information sent by users and internal links to the database are checked and grouped at regular time intervals into blocks, thus forming a chain.