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  • Responsible Raw Materials

Grant Erskine - Gold Fingerprinting Technology to Support Responsible Sourcing

Updated: May 31, 2020

‘Gold Fingerprinting’ is a term associated with established scientific based technology that originally was used to validate the mine of origin for Gold before expanding into Diamonds, other minerals and agriculture. Our talk will outline the availability of these scientific based technologies that can support investors, mining companies and downstream supply chain partners independently validate and underpin claims including ‘responsibly sourced’ and ‘conflict free’.

Most of these values-based claims are linked directly to the mine of origin of the raw material and thus they are provenance-based claims. Without the ability to verify the provenance of raw materials, large consumer facing brands, OEMs and their investors face significant risks from the loss of social license as consumers become sceptical about ESG claims that appear generic in nature and fail to provide transparency around the true origin (provenance) of their raw materials.

The risks in failing to take steps towards transparency have been further highlighted in recent weeks with the release of Michael Moore’s, ‘Planet of the Humans’, which shines an unfavourable light on the provenance of the raw materials that flow into green energy systems, electronic cars and our smartphones. Planet of the Humans, has the potential to make a similar impact on these industries as the 2006 movie ‘Blood Diamonds’ did around changing consumer perception on the diamond industry that eventually saw NGO’s walk away from the Kimberly Process, the rise of synthetic diamonds and a growing trend of Generation Z no longer associating a diamond to their commitment to a life-long partner.

These trends create significant risks for investors, mining companies and downstream supply chain partners who rely on claims of ‘responsible sourcing’ to maintain social license. The loss of social license is not a linear process, it can be held one day and lost the next.

Scientific and digital based technologies are now available to not only mitigate this risk, but also provide an opportunity for junior mining companies and their investors to find access to market through implementing programs that provide consumer facing brands with line of sight to where their raw materials come from.


Grant Erskine is the CCO of Source Certain International and a passionate advocate that the greatest social challenges of the 21st century will be overcome through a combination of pragmatism and innovation that create an economic advantage for businesses doing good.

Source Certain pioneered an established scientific process that forensically determines the provenance of food and non food products including gold, diamonds and rare earths. The first major application of this technology was through our investigative support for law enforcement agencies solving stolen gold and diamond cases in the 1990s before being commercially adopted across the agriculture, food and beverage industries.

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