5 Recommendations for Successful Digital Transformation in Mining

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, digitalization in the mining industry has the potential to deliver exceptional shareholder, customer and environmental value. This value is estimated to be over $425 billion in the next 10 years (to 2025). As mining companies will need to operate in an ecosystem of providers and partners, collaboration is critical for successful digitalization. In this post, we look at 5 recommendations from the World Economic Forum for a successful digital transformation in the mining industry.

1. Align strategy and operations towards innovation:

To thrive in the digital future, companies must move beyond spawning disconnected technology initiatives and focus instead on building out a digital strategy that is aligned with their business model, processes and organization, to encourage digital usage and experimentation.

2. Improve data access and relevance:

Access to timely and relevant information is the key to driving intelligent business decisions. Companies must focus on gathering real, applicable insights from data and share them with the right people in the organization. The availability of real-time data further empowers teams to identify key drivers of process variability and drive rapid and focused operational improvements.

3. Engage and train tomorrow’s digital workforce:

The digital mine requires a culture that embraces data-led decision making and diverse talent. To seize the full potential of digital technology, today’s workers must be engaged and trained for tomorrow’s jobs. Young talent needs to be actively acquired by the industry, while ageing workers or those that do not have digital knowledge must be trained for digital work, either internally or through educational partnerships.

4. Invest in alternative benefits, not just jobs:

While digitalization will empower some workers, it will also eliminate many of the local jobs of the past. Companies must invest now in finding other ways to work with and compensate local stakeholders for the responsible use of their resources. Initiatives could include infrastructure development and education support, among others.

5. Forge new partnerships and strengthen existing ones:

Mining is a capital-intensive industry, and partnerships can lead to new models of operation and ownership of mining and metals fixed assets that can lower capital intensity. Improving active and open partnerships is the foundation for best-in-class digitalization, and offers opportunities to overcome challenges such as industry specialization, the increased importance of local communities and high capital intensity.

Digital transformation is a reality for the mining sector, and is a critical enabler to tackle productivity and margin challenges. To seize the opportunities of a digital revolution, mining companies need to embed digital thinking, processes and structures into their entire organization.

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