Acqumine Limited is a UK company that has positioned itself by coupling blockchain – the world’s most important emerging technology with the world’s most technophobic industrial sector – the developing world extractive industry: A software platform that will enforce fiscal responsibility and at the same time help unskilled workers to improve productivity in a safer environment, thereby making mines better corporate citizens and be more profitable. The founder, Damian Gawlowski is an expert in systems architecture and verification systems, having worked for insurance giant, AIG and professional services company, The Lloyds Registry.
The market opportunity
The resources industry in the developing world encounters the following problems:
- Non-transparent transfer pricing of foreign owned miners denudes local governments of taxes, fuel corruption and can lead to violence;
- Non-rehabilitation of mining sites leaves abandoned mines as disaster zones;
- Harsh dangerous mining conditions attract demotivated staff with low levels of education where alcoholism, fuel theft and equipment destruction is rife;
- Lack of IT investment means that mines are unsafe, inefficient and consume more energy than they need to. The global mining industry spends $80 per capita on IT per year vs $8,000 per banking employee.
Acqumine plans a three-milestone development plan whereby it will build a blockchain based software platform, which will enable ethical miners to attract more customers and to command a premium for their products. Acqumine will then use its knowledge of their processes to help them mine more profitably:
Version 1 involves creating the blockchain based smart contract platform that will be plugged into existing or emerging commodities exchanges: Key functionality will involve an ultra-secure blockchain-based configurable smart contract royalties collection module.
Key to commercial rollout of Version 1 will be to partner with mining ministries and tax authorities in host countries to ensure financial commitments are complied with. In time, Acqumine endeavours to persuade host governments to make use of its software to become a condition on which mineral extraction licenses are awarded.
Version 2 involves the development of an ethical commodities brand where mines owners will be incentivised to use Acqumine’ s software with the development of an ethical mining balanced scorecard and providing the verification equipment and software to back up the assertions: The four elements to the balanced scorecard will include Shipment tracking, Environmental footprint, Social impact and Host country fiscal contribution. Firms following best practice will be able to sell their commodity at a premium, compensating them for the increased tax payments and wages.
Version 3 consists of the embedded software & hardware module deep into the operations where it reduces costs and share revenues on the following activities:
- Asset monitoring on an intuitive, icon-driven touch-screen interface;
- Energy demand side management, saving and clean energy provision
- Self-learning optimisation algorithms for dispatching, grade control and unplanned seismic events
- “Bonus Buddy” – a real-time bonus system that rewards worker when they use equipment efficiently and complete targets set by shift planning.
Benefits to mine owners
- Cost reduction: Maintenance and depreciation that comprise 20% of operating costs – $3 billion pa in South Africa alone where annual maintenance costs run at 12% of asset costs; this excludes downtime costs;
- Injuries and fatalities cost the South African mining industry 40% of profits or $1 billion in 2014, with directors facing increased criminal liability risk;
- Increased vehicle utilisation rates that currently stand at less than 30%.
Financial bullet points
- The company plans to raise £150k of seed capital in 2017, followed by £4,850 million in a second EIS raise in 2018 to fund the development of Milestone 1; £5 million in a third raise in 2019 and a last £5 million in 2020 for the operational optimisation system;
- By 2023, the company plans to have £1 billion of commodity sales supported through its blockchain software through 50 customers, generating £50 million of turnover, where almost half will be derived from shared cost savings;
- Gross profit according to the model assumptions will be 41%, while net profit after tax is forecast at £7 million.