Working in coalmines is both dangerous and toughest job. Miners work in a very confined area, where they use pit ponies to carry the coal. Women and children can be seen in varied kind of mining jobs. Most of the mining job that is carried out by children engages them to carry coal etc. while they craw on little hands and knees; and already several mining incidents have been reported in the past while some have gone unreported. Chaining, harnessing, etc. have become very common things when children have been made to crawl and drag heavy loads.
Institutions and organizations are working towards controlling the Child mining activities. One such initiative in this direction is taken by IBM. IBM is working on a technology called “Blockchain”. The technology will be used to keep a track on the movement of the minerals from mine market. The technology is not new now, as the same technology is being used by “Uber”.
Materials move from varied points before it reaches to end user. There should be a system to track the material movement right from its point of origin, transit and processing of raw materials till the final finished goods being made. Block chain is one such system which will provide an easy solution to the problem. The tracked information will be recorded in a distributed ledger which will be used by the companies, financiers and consumers who will get the clear and up to date information about the materials right from its origin, in between transit events till the final reach. Secure tracking with the help of the blockchain technology will provide customers an assurance that materials have been mined ethically in areas known for child miners. Blockchain technology enables collecting information from the mines and working on issues that entail child related activities.
Blockchain technology has varied applications such as securing digital contracts and supply chain data. The digital transactions recorded by the network can be seen by automatically logging in using the RFID tags. IBM is working on the same grounds with its Food Trust product, where it can trace the product move right from the farm till it reaches to the table. IBM with its strong focus towards mining industry issues will soon deploy its technology like Uber for getting all material facts and up dated information from the mining industry. At present, the company is exploring and working on six potential blockchain products for the mining industry and expects to launch the two products by next week or so.
As a key move, the first blockchain platform has been said to entail responsible sourcing of minerals. Congo which contributes towards 60% of the world supply of cobalt has huge child labour and with blockchain technology getting implemented for controlling the child miners, cobalt supply can take a hit. Apple which uses cobalt for its phone batteries will also experience the supply shortage pressure in near term once blockchain technology set up is done for controlling the child miners. LME has also launched an investigation into whether any cobalt that was traded came from unethical source or not.
Meanwhile, IBM is working on to digitize all the documents in the supply chain under its second block chain platform. With the launch of the block chain technology in the field of controlling the child mining activity, some industries where child labor contributes a significant part can face severe pressure.
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