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Independent analysis and inspection services provider Alfred H Knight (AHK) is participating in the European Union’s ‘MaDiTraCe’ project to develop and integrate technological solutions for traceability and certification of critical minerals.

The Material and Digital Traceability for the Certification of Critical Raw Materials, or MaDiTraCe, project started in January, as demand for critical raw materials has been increasing.

The three-year project is being coordinated by French public reference institution Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières and is aimed at reinforcing the transparency, traceability and sustainability of complex supply chains of critical raw materials including cobalt, lithium, natural graphite and rare earth elements.

MaDiTraCe brings together 14 partners from seven countries to develop traceability technology and certification into a digital product passport. “These solutions will enable key industry players to prove the reliability of their sustainability claims, comply with current regulations and anticipate future policies,” AHK explains.

AHK, through its entity in the Netherlands, will contribute to the development of artificial fingerprinting technologies that are to be used as part of ‘material passports’ for key commodities in two complex supply chains – rechargeable lithium batteries and magnets.

The company is also leading a review of existing methods for the potential use of artificial taggant particles, with input from the Geological Survey of Finland.

AHK believes the MaDiTraCe project will pave the way for a transparent and sustainable future in critical raw material trading, especially as these materials become increasingly important to civilisation and the electrification of vehicles.

“Determining the provenance and traceability of minerals will help ensure critical raw materials are responsibly sourced from legitimate operations, which do not support illegal mining,” the company states.

AHK says it is well-placed to provide key research, analysis and consultancy support to projects such as MaDiTraCe, given its 140 years of knowledge and experience in metals and minerals, having helped clients to build a comprehensive understanding of their commodities and worked with numerous organisations to make informed improvements to the sector.

Other project partners to MaDiTraCe include global engineering group DMT, knowledge and innovation consortium EIT Raw Materials, research services provider Funditec, sustainable innovation consultancy LGI, mining solutions provider Metso Outotec, universities Leiden and Ghent, and software company Spherity.