Oil and Gas

Rwanda hosts first tantalum-tracking blockchain

KIGALI/LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Rwanda’s mining boss on Tuesday announced the world’s first blockchain project to track tantalum from the pit-face to the refinery, part of a push to reassure investors of its role as a conflict-free source of minerals.

The project is the work of Circulor, a British start-up specialised in blockchain, and miner-refiner Power Resources Group (PRG), which has mining and refining operations in Rwanda and Macedonia.

Francis Gatare, chief executive of Rwanda’s Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, said it was vital for Rwanda to prove it was a conflict-free source of tantalum, used among other things in mobile phones, and other minerals.

“Blockchain is one of the technologies that has demonstrated capabilities of providing a more efficient and effective way of delivering traceability for commodities,” Gatare told Reuters.

Miners, which increasingly struggle to win investor confidence as the pursuit of opportunities drives them into high-risk territory, are exploring the potential of blockchain to mitigate any dangers. (Editing by Jan Harvey)