Colombia Mints World's First Mining Contract as a NFT on the GoChain Blockchain

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The National Mining Agency of Colombia plans to leverage blockchain technology and smart contracts to launch new financing opportunities for miners and bring about greater transparency and auditability of mining operations and supply chains.

Dubai Expo 2020, Opportunity District

This is something revolutionary in mining … in the world, we’ve been working to see how we can be more innovative, how we can actually be more transparent … this new strategy that we’re launching today … it’s a new strategy aimed in order to have the first mining contracts on the blockchain.

The National Mining Agency of Colombia (Agencia Nacional de Mineria or ANM) has announced a bold vision and plan to further establish Colombia as a global leader and top destination for mining projects and investments. ANM presented a multi-prong strategy, which included the use of blockchain technology and smart contracts, to digitally transform and unlock new opportunities in Colombia’s mining sector and to provide unmatched transparency and auditability of mining operations and supply chains. Colombia’s Minister of Finance and Public Credit, José Manuel Restrepo, provided opening remarks followed by the President of the National Mining Agency of Colombia (ANM), Juan Miguel Durán Prieto, who presented the strategy and announced the groundbreaking news during a special event in the Colombian Pavilion at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, UAE.

“This is something revolutionary in mining … in the world, we’ve been working to see how we can be more innovative, how we can actually be more transparent … this new strategy that we’re launching today … it’s a new strategy aimed in order to have the first mining contracts on the blockchain.” — Juan Miguel Durán Prieto, President of ANM speaking in the Colombian Pavilion on November 02, 2021 in Dubai Expo 2020

The Agencia Nacional de Mineria is currently working with the Bogota, Colombia offices of Baker McKenzie LLP and Lexia Abogados as legal and strategic advisors, and with Reno, NV-based GoChain as a blockchain technology advisor and solutions provider.

Mining Titles & Blockchain Technology

ANM's vision includes the recording of mining rights, initially for Strategic Mining Area (SMA) titles, on the blockchain. SMAs are special mining exploration areas and exploitation contracts (delineated by specific geo-coordinates in Colombia) that are managed by ANM and provide special benefits and opportunities for mining prospectors and its investors. SMAs typically offer miners additional geological and environmental details, are high potential prospecting areas, provide clear legal rules and certainty, and, importantly, benefit from ANM’s prior concurrence, coordination, and consultation with local communities. Areas awarded under any SMA contract must go through an objective selection process. Eventually all Colombian mining titles will be recorded on the blockchain. A blockchain-based mining registry serves to mitigate against the problems arising from lost or damaged data records, contract disputes, and fraud as key mining title and contract terms are immutably recorded and time-stamped on a public blockchain.

World’s 1st Mining Contract Minted as a NFT

ANM began receiving 1st and 2nd round offers for select copper SMAs in March 2021. Following its first SMA mining contract approved and signed on 14 September 2021, ANM took the unprecedented step to record the approved mining title on the blockchain — notably, now the first mining contract worldwide to be recorded as a non-fungible token (NFT) on the GoChain public blockchain. As an NFT, the SMA contract and its terms are digitally represented as an unique token that is cryptographically-preserved and time-stamped on the GoChain blockchain. The NFT included not only specific details related to the approved SMA to include contract ID, digital signature, date of signing, and the specific mining grid coordinates but also a “checksum” of the original contract hash, ensuring the authenticity and integrity of the original contract terms now immutably recorded and auditable on the GoChain blockchain. In addition to copper SMAs, ANM also plans to commence with phosphate SMA rounds in late-November 2021.

Tokens & Smart Contracts

“It’s not just the benefits of blockchain but also tokens — tokens that will permit our miners a lot of alternatives within the financial sector … this is as I said in the world this does not exist … Colombia [is] going to be the first country to have this type of content.” — Juan Miguel Durán Prieto, President of ANM

Looking ahead, ANM also plans to facilitate the tokenization of mining projects, which will enable key stakeholders to be able to audit and confirm key terms, i.e., equity ownership or royalty rights, via a public blockchain ledger. ANM expects the tokenization of mining projects to result in new democratized fundraising and crowdfunding mechanisms that will provide miners of all sizes with new opportunities to raise funds; additionally, investor prospects, including any Colombian citizen, would also have the ability to participate in Colombia’s tokenized mining investment opportunities. The use of smart contracts is also expected to allow for the automation of select workflow processes, i.e., the automated distribution of royalty payments to investors / token holders.

Supply Chain Transparency & Traceability

ANM’s comprehensive strategy also includes plans to deploy blockchain-based solutions that enable the real-time track, trace, and audit of mineral supply chain transactions via an immutable ledger to ensure authenticity and the responsible sourcing of mining assets. Once excavated, any mineral or metal can be physically tracked from its origins as it moves throughout the value chain. Select data, including time stamps, geo-coordinates, and other key data elements and events would all be recorded on the blockchain to ensure provenance, responsible sourcing, and asset authenticity. Ultimately, blockchain-based traceability will help to not only authenticate assets but also to help corroborate the market value of any digitized mining asset. GoChain plans to utilize the GoTrace blockchain traceability system to support ANM’s anticipated plans for the granular track, trace, and auditability of Colombia’s mining supply chains.

“It’s a great honor to work with the Colombian Government and our Bogota-based partners, Lexia Abogados and Baker McKenzie, to support and help fulfill this bold new vision. This new strategic plan will not only serve to showcase the many benefits of blockchain technology for the global mining industry but undoubtedly will also lead to significant benefits and new opportunities for local businesses, communities, and the citizens of Colombia.” — Henry Ines, CEO of GoChain / Chainparency

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