The blockchain company HashCash Consultants just announced that it has a partnership with a selection of car, battery and mining manufacturers. It is intended to develop a blockchain-based supply chain network to track the minerals they use in their manufacturing processes. This information was released on November 18. In the press release, the parties stated that they plan to build a blockchain-based supply chain system in order to source minerals as ethically as possible. Those minerals are to be used in car and battery production. They will source minerals such as lithium, cobalt and tungsten. They aim to address child labor concerns in mining operations.

Mining is one of the well-known industries in which child labor is heavily used. The blockchain network aims to add transparency to the entire supply chain of minerals. Specifically, the partners aim to use it in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is because of a 2017 United Nations estimate that more than 40,000 children are exploited for their labor in cobalt mines in the DRC. Worldwide, more than 168 million children are believed to be exploited in poor working conditions.

With the setup of the blockchain supply chain network, HashCash and its partners plan to track and authenticate the provenance and sourcing of minerals. They plan to ensure that every participant, from the mine to the car manufacturer acts in compliance with the rules and regulations they have set up.

In the past, Volvo joined a project for monitoring cobalt extraction from the DRC. It was set up by the sourcing group RCS Global. That project aimed to show that their electric vehicles do not make use of conflict-extracted materials or child labor. Ford Motor Company, IBM, LG Chem and Huayou Cobalt were all partners in that initiative, which continues to this day.

Tradewind Markets also created a system for tracking the source of its gold and other precious metals. Its platform allows customers to buy and sell gold based on their sourcing preferences. They can choose mine, artisanal or recycled sources. They can also pick the geographic location of the gold mine.