Ninety-one per cent of mining companies surveyed in an Ernst & Young (EY) report plan to ramp up their digital investment in the next 12 months.
The study surveyed global mining and metals executives between June and September 2021, and ranked the top-10 business risks and opportunities for the mining and metals industry in 2022.
Digital and innovation came in at seventh on the list, with environmental and social, decarbonisation and license to operate the top three risks and opportunities across the industry.
As part of EY’s research, the company asked its surveyed mining companies the question: ‘How much do you plan to increase your investment into digital transformation over the next 12 months?’
The statistics showed that while 9 per cent of companies said they wouldn’t increase their investment in 2022, 27 per cent said they’d increase it by up to 10 per cent, 44 per cent of respondents said they’d increase it by between 11 and 25 per cent, with 13 per cent of those surveyed ramping things up by between 26-50 per cent.
Around 7 per cent said they’d increase their digital mining investment by over 50 per cent in 2022.
“Digital has become an integral part of doing business in mining and metals, a fact we noted in last year’s report where digital ranked just number nine in our list of risks and opportunities,” the report stated.
EY suggested the increased digital push is due to increased decarbonisation.
“… now we see a push to find, develop and deploy new technology for a broader purpose as miners respond to an accelerated focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) from capital markets, and the challenge to transition to net zero and develop ‘greener’ products,” it stated.
“Companies are planning to increase their investment in digital transformation, and are also beginning to realise the value of innovation to help them to diversify their focus and differentiate.”
While digital mining will increasingly be a focus, the mining industry continues to be challenged by the nature and scope of its digitalisation.
But the sector remains vigilant, EY stated, highlighting efforts from mining companies to right their wrongs.
“Market leaders are learning from their missteps and mistakes – assessing previously implemented point solutions to determine value from the initial investment, and using lessons to build a common set of practices around how to approach and design architecture for these programs.”