Critical minerals blockchain given a funding boost

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The federal government have announced a more than A$5.6-million investment through the Blockchain Pilot Grants programme to investigate the capability of blockchain to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of Australia’s critical minerals and food and beverage sectors.

Blockchain is a digital ledger system that records transactions such as the movement of goods through a supply chain in a way that is extremely difficult to change or “hack” because the information is duplicated across a network of computers.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said the projects would help to accelerate Australia’s adoption of blockchain technology and assist businesses to solve real-world problems.

“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,” Porter said.

Queensland-based Everledger will receive A$3-million to investigate how blockchain technology can be used to create a ‘digital certification’ for critical minerals throughout the extraction and movement phases.

This will help companies in the sector to ensure adherence to compliance regulations and increase the demand for Australian products in global markets, while also simplifying the process and lowering costs.

Victoria-based Convergence.tech will get a further A$2.6-million in funding to leverage blockchain technology to help automate key reporting processes under the Excise system, a commodity-based tax on goods including beer and spirits.

“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,” said Porter on Monday.

“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.” 

These grants are funded under the Australian government’s Digital Business package, which was announced in the Federal Budget 2020/21, and directly align with the government’s National Blockchain Roadmap, which was released in February last year.