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Ex-Glencore traders launch 'eBay' platform for metals concentrate transactions

London — A group of ex-Glencore traders is launching a new digital platform called Open Mineral aimed at making the trade of nonferrous metals raw materials, or concentrates, more transparent.

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The Switzerland-based startup will initially cover zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver concentrate markets, aiming "to disrupt the decades-old model for trading physical commodities."

"Think of eBay for the metal concentrate markets, so that all parties find the product that they need at optimal prices," Open Mineral CEO Boris Eykher told S&P Global Platts Wednesday.

The platform will go live Wednesday, he added.



"Physical commodities have been traded in the same way by the same companies for decades," said Eykher. "We see technology delivering tangible benefits to the mining industry. Just as eBay revolutionized retail purchasing by bringing buyers and sellers together directly, we aim to do the same for the physical commodity producers," he added.

The concentrate market is traditionally a very closed environment, in the hands of large trade houses who have undisclosed methods of pricing.

"We have met with multiple producers and end-users as well as trade service providers. We are confident there is a massive demand out there for improved efficiency, transparency, and better market analytics," said Ilya Chernilovskiy, Open Mineral's chief operating officer.

Both Eykher and Chernilovskiy have extensive experience in commodity trading and mining industry.

They met at Harvard Business School, where both attended the MBA program, and developed their industry expertise while working at Glencore.

"When I was CFO of Kazzinc, it quickly became apparent that the entire buying and selling process was centered around the intermediary. Traders have a ton of information on producers, their technological advantages and difficulties, as well as the full market knowledge on all the sides, so it's the intermediaries who make the hefty profit margin," noted Eykher.

--Ben Kilbey, ben.kilbey@spglobal.com
--Alisdair Bowles, alisdair.bowles@spglobal.com