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Rwanda gives blockchain the green light in mining game changer

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Artisanal and small-scale miners are set to benefit from new blockchain technology. Image credit Minexx

Rwanda gives blockchain the green light in mining game changer

The government of Rwanda has given London headquartered tech company Minexx the green light to assist artisanal miners in accessing capital and supply global markets in a responsible and transparent way. The company’s technology is a potential gamechanger in the mining industry.  

Minexx uses blockchain technology to record all transactions in a way the meets the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and International Conference on the Great Lakes Region’s responsible sourcing standards

The company exported the first kilo of gold tracked through its platform from Burkina Faso in December 2021. Minexx helps artisanal and small mines (ASMs) increase their efficiency and safety by linking them to appropriate expertise, equipment and capital.

In collaboration with the Rwanda Mines, Gas and Petroleum Board (RMB), Minexx will deploy and supervise blockchain powered technology to record and track mines’ key transactions, including miners’ payments, mineral traceability, minerals taxation, export process, supply chain corrective actions and community relations.

At a local level, artisanal and small-scale (ASM) operators will be using Minexx digital platforms and due diligence processes.  This will ensure that when ASMs extract tin, tungsten, tantalum, niobium, and gold, they are transported, processed, exported, and traded in a conflict free and legal manner.  Blockchain is immutable and so brings traceability, transparency, and trust.

It will also ensure ASMs meet the expectations of their downstream customers namely smelters, metal refiners and tech companies that use these vital minerals to manufacture products such as computers and smart phones.

According to Minexx CEO Marcus Scaramanga Minexx will bring traceability, transparency, and trust to the minerals sector through its blockchain technology.  This will lead to benefits to the miners themselves through access to capital, but also to the Rwandan Government through taxation.

“Minexx hopes to lead the way of satisfying the world’s appetite for technology in a fair way for people and planet. We hope to help more artisanal mining sites and rollout our in-demand services to other minerals producing countries on the African continent,” says Scaramanga.

“Minexx’s services will bring more transparency and trust to the mining sector, while directly addressing 10 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals,” he adds.

A potential gamechanger in West Africa

Blockchain technology could be a gamechanger in mining and Minexx proved its potential in Burkina Faso and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo last year.

Burkina Faso, in West Africa, produces 34 tonnes of artisanal gold per year. However only 300kg was formally exported in 2019 due to a lack of traceability and lower export taxes in neighbouring countries. The Burkina Faso government has now lowered the taxes when exporting through L’Agence Nationale d’Encadrement des Exploitations Minières Artisanales et Semi-artisanales (ANEEMAS), the government body for artisanal and small-scale production.

Minexx has been working closely with local traders, NGO partners and ANEEMAS to drive production via a traceable route to market. During this export the different batches from different sources were tracked on the Minexx platform, along with information obtained through due diligence and associated reports from site visits.

Last year Minexx, in a world first, exported minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo processing USD250k of digital, blockchain certified payments.

While gold is best known for either investment or for jewellery, it is also a very efficient conductor and can be found in smartphones and televisions. In terms of the distribution of  gold demand in 2020, 8% was for technology.

“If we are going to achieve net zero we are going to require even more minerals and this is going to have an impact on countries around the world, and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Scaramanga.

“Therefore, it is more important than ever that we move with pace, leveraging technology to provide solutions to the challenges the world faces and to play our role in delivering benefits to all in the supply chain – from the artisanal miners through to the consumer. This breakthrough in Burkina Faso is another important step in this journey,” he says.

Rwanda gives blockchain the green light in mining game changer

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AgricultureEnvironmental Management & Climate ChangeEnergyESGInfrastructureMiningPolitical EconomyTourism and ConservationWater Management