A personal friend of mine was quarantined during the pandemic in 2020. I called him to check whether he was doin fine. He was, and so we conversed about our current projects instead. He had an issue, where he invested into a gold mining license near the border of two countries. Gold of one countrie's origin was being handled critically due to the political situation. The other was not. Trying to provide appropriate working and health conditions as well as compensation for the workers at the mine site, he required to sell his gold at market price.
This proved difficult. How could he prove that his gold is from the country it is and that it would be accepted by compliance of refineries in Switzerland? It could as well have been shipped over the border. Noone could have checked.
We brainstormed. The solution would have needed to be:
Cover the entire production process back to the original mining location of the ore
Be objective, independent of any subjective opinion or reporting
The solution was most modern geochemical apparatus with integrated GPS. Newest handheld X-ray fluorescence are able to detect trace elements down to one part per million within seconds. Additionally, they can be configured that the user cannot change any settings nor delete files. The integrated GPS is objective and the measurements can be checked even from great distance.
Now, how does the electromagnetic response from elements prove the origin? This is where our challenge lies.
GeoBlock's focus is data collection and construction of programs that capture such X-ray signatures and convert them into fingerprints.
These fingerprints can be either be used to perform basic statistical tests on new products originating from said mine or can just be checked visually. If two images don't match, they can't be from the same mine. Simple as that. See below for more info on our product.
See the GeoBlock Fast Fingerprinting Verification
Foto: View from South American artisanal gold mine, a GeoBlock project 2021