Gold's Big Challenge
Gold is one of Earth's most traded and stable assets. Its mining and production vary from small artisanal mines to large coorporations. The original extraction of mine material is often done in less developed countries and the labour physically intense. Gold mining, when done unprofessionally, can pose toxic danger to human and environment. There is a clear need for regulation and standards.
Numerous certificates and initiatives try to ensure basic human rights and a decent work environment for mines in
If you buy a gold bar at any bank or refinery, it is near impossible to determine where it originally comes from. Gold, mined in any country, undergoes numerous processes including refining, which make all traces of origin disappear.
Solutions for these issues exist, e.g., in form of blockchain, starting from the doré bar (a crude, first gold bar). But a complete solution, starting from the mine geology to the final gold bar still does not exist.
Gold has a series of sub-products (see below). In artisanal mining, every sub-product gets traded, exchanged and mixed. A solution only covering a part of the production chain is therefore suboptimal. How green is your green gold bar, if you have no safety over its origin?
Mine or mine vein material gets extracted and brought to the surface. An average artisanal miner can produce around one ton of material per day. This is the first product in the production chain.
The extracted material passes through one or several grinders, which results in fine sand. This process does not change the material's composition.
Phyisically filtered material
Physical separation filters the material based on e.g. their density. Heavy particles, like gold, will congregate at the bottom while light particles can be taken out.
Confortably melted into a rough or crude bar, a doré bar is molten and condensed concentrate. Apart from concentrate, this is a popular trading product, as it is easy to transport. Although, it has become rarer the last years due to increasing danger in some countries.
The founders of GeoBlock have personally experienced trading, mixing and echange of all of the above mentioned sub-products of a gold bar. Transparency solutions only covering parts of the production chain are therefore obsolete. In addition, the solution must be able to "survive" any of the processing, i.e. amalgamation and melting. Sprays of any sort are therefore also out of the question.
The remaining options lie in geochemistry. A doré bar is not pure. There remain trace elements, which can be analysed and as the name already states - traced. On an academic level, e.g. lead isotope analyses can prove very valuable, although far too costly for every day application.
GeoBlock's solution is an attempt to combine the fastest, inexpensive and most objective methods currently to men's disposal.