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critical minerals

The federal government has funded a blockchain pilot project to increase competition in Australia’s critical minerals sector.

As part of the government’s digital business package from the 2021-21 federal budget, it has provided $3 million to Queensland-based technology company Everledger.

The funding will support Everledger in researching how blockchain technology can provide a digital certification for critical minerals when they are extracted or moved across the supply chain.

Blockchain technology is used to record transactions, acting as a digital receipt that avoids hacking or duplicated information.

According to the federal government, it will also help the sector ensure it follows regulations and increase demand for Australia’s critical minerals supply and also reduce costs.

An additional $2.6 million grant was given to, which will uncover how blockchain technology can automated key reporting processes in other sectors.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said the grants would push Australia forward in its blockchain capabilities.

“The Blockchain Pilot Grants will demonstrate the potential for blockchain to help businesses to save money and cut red tape by improving processes such as tracking products throughout the supply chain and transferring customer information,” he said.

“These two successful projects will also highlight opportunities to improve the technical and regulatory environment for blockchain in Australia, bolster blockchain literacy and support collaboration between Australian governments, the private sector and blockchain companies.

“The Blockchain Pilot Grants builds on the National Blockchain Roadmap which ensures Australia is well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities this technology can enable.”

The funding has also aligned with the federal government’s national blockchain roadmap from February 2020.

The roadmap’s committee will be supported by working groups that explore blockchain supply chains, credentialling, cybersecurity and regulatory compliance.

In June 2020, BHP completed its first digital iron ore transaction on blockchain-based platform MineHub Technologies with China Baowu.