Michelle Ash said in a statement she believes blockchain "will transform and streamline the value chain." IPI Photography

Former Barrick chief innovation officer Michelle Ash joined the advisory board of Berlin-based blockchain start-up Minespider.

“I'm thrilled to be joining one of the most promising blockchain startups in the mining industry at present,” Ash said in a statement. “They have a unique approach to responsible sourcing and I believe their technology is exactly what the industry needs to help become more transparent.”

Minespider is aiming to create a public blockchain platform specifically for “conflict minerals” including gold, tin, tungsten and copper, which will follow their path from mine to consumer. The company’s solution, based on the Ethereum blockchain, will produce encrypted certification documents at each step of the process, which end users can purchase using a Minespider-specific cryptocurrency.

“I think that blockchain will transform and streamline the value chain,” Ash said. “This will drive costs down and simplify processes, as well as create significantly more transparency.”

Minespider said it has “major pilot programs in the pipeline” this year.

Related: Blockchain-based supply chain application for mining will be trialled at Goldcorp’s Peñasquito

Ensuring sustainable and ethical supply chains is becoming increasingly necessary for miners as end users like Apple, BMW and Daimler launch supply chain initiatives in response to shareholder demands.

Ash, currently chair of the Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG), was at Barrick until the end of 2018, when the company terminated its CIO position – a job that had been created specifically for her. The move was part of a larger decentralization effort at Barrick.

Ash said in the release that she believed the future of mining involves smaller mine site footprints, underground mines without workers below surface, and gold being “left in the ground – except when required for the creation of physical [non-financial] gold products.”

Among Minespider’s other advisors are Ethereum Foundation co-founder Patrick Storchenegger; YouTube’s former head of community Danilo Carlucci; and Maximilian Jarrett, a senior special advisor to the chair of the Africa Progress Group.