Advanced explorer Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) has entered into a partnership with UK-based supply chain traceability specialist Circulor to establish a nickel-cathode precursor tracing system for its Ta Khoa nickel-copper-platinum group elements (PGE) project in Vietnam.
Under the terms of the deal, the companies will work together to demonstrate a reliable chain of custody using Traceability-as-a-Service (TaaS) technology.
The system will feature dynamic environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics to promote ethically and responsibly-sourced nickel for end users.
It will address carbon dioxide intensity, biodiversity impact, water use and energy mix, digitised from project samples and made available for potential downstream markets.
The end product will provide Blackstone with an ESG-friendly “passport” of its products and operations for potential customers.
Blackstone chief executive officer Scott Williamson said transparency and traceability of Ta Khoa’s vertically-integrated supply chain would result in the best commercial outcomes.
“We are determined to be a leader in ESG innovation and our partnership with Circulor is at the cutting edge of an industry movement towards increased transparency and traceability of raw material supply chains,” he said.
“The end customer will ultimately demand and preferentially consume ethically and responsibly-sourced nickel, which we believe the Ta Khoa project inherently possesses.”
The partnership is aligned with global commodity trader Trafigura, which is a potential feedstock supplier for the Ta Khoa refinery.
Trafigura also recently announced a collaborative partnership with Circulor to track its own sustainability metrics, which Mr Williamson reflects Blackstone’s expectation of all potential feedstock suppliers.
There has been increasing global awareness on the impacts associated with nickel production, as well as other critical raw materials sourced for the lithium-ion battery and electric vehicles industries, with the end user market demanding a level of traceability for all products.
Building traceability into the development process of a mine and refinery allows companies to employ “traceability-by-design” which can track the origin, carbon dioxide-equivalence and ESG performance of products and raw materials from the first shipment to their downstream customers.
Circulor is one of the world’s largest sustainable supply chain traceability providers, with a presence in Germany, Singapore, Australia and the US.
The company provides businesses with the capability to analyse, track and manage their supply chains to support responsible sourcing and improve sustainability.
It uses an enterprise software platform which creates a reliable chain of custody of materials and attaches sustainability and other ESG data to the flow.
Blackstone’s partnership with Circulor will enable it to demonstrate compliance with sustainability metrics from mining through to finished product processed through the Ta Khoa refinery.
It will be the first product traceability system implemented in South East Asia.