MineHub has landed its first commercial agreement after entering into a deal with global resources company BHP.

Under the agreement, BHP will subscribe to the MineHub platform and enterprise applications as a paying customer, adopting the solution across its operations and its business network.

Built on Hyperledger Fabric, MineHub is an enterprise blockchain platform that allows parties involved in selling, buying, delivering and paying for a cargo of minerals to collaborate securely in real time, sharing electronic information rather than couriering or emailing paper documents that are often subject to interception and fraud. Since its launch in 2019, with syndicate members including Gold Corp, ING Bank, Wheaton Precious Metals and Ocean Partners, it has carried out several transactions – the first of which, in 2020, saw BHP deliver US$14mn of iron ore to China Baowu, a state-owned iron and steel company, with trade confirmation, logistics, assay exchange, notifications and document sharing all carried out on the platform.

With this latest move, says Arnoud Star Busmann, MineHub’s CEO, the company’s relationship with BHP has “matured further, reflecting the progress from pioneering and co-creating to a commercial service that has the potential to digitally support the sales operations of BHP and its customers”.

He adds that the agreement represents a “major milestone”, both for MineHub and the wider mining and metals industry. “For the industry it demonstrates the viability of a digital industry platform, and for MineHub it represents the transition to a revenue generating company.”

The viability of blockchain-based platforms in trade has been called into question of late, following the demise of we.trade, a bank-backed network for open account trade, and assertions by fraud prevention fintech MonetaGo that blockchain is “not competitive” at scale.

However, in investor presentations, MineHub asserts that it has developed a platform with the functionality and utility that industry both needs and wants, and has laid out plans to take its solution into additional market segments, such as agriculture, chemicals and oil and gas, before eventually expanding its offering to cover all global supply chains.

“After several blockchain-based companies recently announced they are shutting down, here is one that goes in the other direction,” Star Busmann tells GTR. “We have a product/market fit with the largest resources company and who is not a shareholder.”

The company now says it will sign additional commercial agreements with large industry companies over the remainder of this year, which will include miners, traders and smelters.