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Mining firm Vale and its partners completed its first iron sale over blockchain.

According to a statement on its website, Vale sold 176,000 tons of iron ore to Nanjing Iron & Steel, sending the material from Malaysia to China.

Vale and its partners used the blockchain platform Contour to issue a letter of credit. Shipping documents and an electronic bill of lading—a list of all the goods shipped—were handled through essDOC’s CargoDocs solution. 

The company said it ensured end-to-end security in the transaction with the real-time visibility to the stakeholder documentation available on blockchain technology. Vale noted using blockchain drastically reduced emails and paperwork the parties had to exchange. 

“It is an important milestone towards the digitalisation of the sales and trade process,  bringing innovation to the traditional paper-intensive trade transactions and offering a better service to the clients as well as predictability in the steel value chain,” the company said in the statement.

Mining giants have been looking to use blockchain to ease shipping inefficiencies. The BHP Group announced in May it hoped to complete its first blockchain iron ore sale with Baosteel. The company has long been interested in the technology and has done a pilot test with Japanese shipping firm NYK to verify sustainable biofuels.

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