Home » Uganda’s First Tin Smelter to Use Blockchain for Traceability

Uganda’s First Tin Smelter to Use Blockchain for Traceability

The smelter will produce LME Grade A refined tin and create over 300 jobs

by Victor Adetimilehin

Uganda, a landlocked country in East Africa, has launched its first tin smelter and partnered with a blockchain technology company to ensure the traceability and responsible sourcing of its minerals.


The smelter, owned by Woodcross Resources, is the first of its kind in Uganda and will produce London Metal Exchange (LME) Grade A refined tin from locally sourced tin concentrate. The smelter has a capacity of 3,600 tonnes per year and will create over 300 direct and indirect jobs, according to the company.


Woodcross Resources has teamed up with Minespider, a Berlin-based startup that offers a blockchain-based platform for mineral traceability. The platform will enable Woodcross to collect and communicate key supply chain data about its tin, such as provenance, due diligence risk assessments, and compliance with various regulations and guidelines, including the OECD, ICGLR, RMI/RMAP, and Ugandan law.


Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that allows transactions to be recorded and verified by multiple parties without the need for a central authority. It can provide transparency, security, and immutability for the data, as well as flexibility to align with different requirements.


The partnership was facilitated by Responsible Trade LLC, a consultancy that helps to build responsible mineral supply chains. The consultancy’s CEO, Mike Loch, said that blockchain technology can create a secure, timely, and reliable chain of custody system that ensures auditable and transparent record of due diligence data.


Tin is a critical mineral for many industries, such as electronics, energy storage, solar cells, and electric vehicles. However, the global tin market faces challenges such as supply shortages, price volatility, and social and environmental risks in some mining regions.


According to the International Tin Association, the global tin demand is expected to grow by 2.59% annually from 2023 to 2028, reaching 463,460 tonnes by the end of the forecast period. The association also projects a significant deficit in the refined tin market after 2023, as the supply from existing and new mines will not be able to meet the demand.


The tin industry in Uganda has been dormant for decades, due to political instability, lack of infrastructure, and low prices. However, the country has rich tin deposits, estimated at over 200,000 tonnes, and has the potential to become a major tin producer and exporter in Africa.


The launch of the tin smelter and the adoption of blockchain technology are expected to boost the tin industry in Uganda and contribute to the economic development and social welfare of the country. The smelter will also provide a legal and sustainable alternative for the artisanal and small-scale miners, who currently face challenges such as low prices, illegal trade, and poor working conditions.


Omid Ameri, the managing director of Woodcross Resources, said that the company is pleased to re-launch the tin industry in Uganda and introduce a new supply center for refined tin to the global market. He added that the collaboration with Minespider will empower the company to produce and export tin in a responsible and transparent manner.


Source: Mining Review


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