With other industries undergoing tremendous changes, what trends will we get to see in the mining industry in the upcoming years?
FREMONT, CA: The mining and metal industry is undergoing its most challenging phase. Market volatility and a downturn in prices of the commodity have developed a new normal where automation, cost cuts, and operational efficiency is essential.
The demand for minerals is going to proliferate in the upcoming years. The following are some of the trends that will determine what kind of mining companies will prevail in the future.
1. New approaches to finance mining
The commodity upsurge in the first decade of the 21st century forced mining companies to concentrate on limiting debt ration and improvising their balance sheets. Alternative financing solutions like royalty and metal stream agreements decrease the burden on mining companies’ balance sheets. These financing solutions will continue to grow for spreading the risk of new capital-intensive projects. Companies may also develop joint ventures to restrict the exposure to a specific jurisdiction or project and can also consider service agreements.
2. Mining and big data
Allocating and processing huge volumes of data helps in digitalizing and automating mining companies’ operations. Governments will further push for subsidiary structures’ disclosure for addressing tax base erosion, consumers will increase the chain transparency’s value, civil society will constantly push for enterprises to exceed mandatory EITI Standard, and impacted communities are specifically showing interest in accessing data that capture the externalities affecting them. It will empower the companies to work in collaboration with other stakeholders to comprehend data types that should be made available for ensuring standardization, impact, and usefulness.
3. Latest mining workforces
Continually emerging technologies and business models need mining company workers to develop new skills. The industry has to work hard to compete with the IT sector for attracting top talent from institutes for driving its automation processes and digitalization. Enterprises and governments need to work collaboratively to help transition workers. The speed of mining companies in rolling out the latest technologies at their mine sites is closely connected to the host government’s and labor union’s acceptance of decreased procurement and employment opportunities.
4. Transition to the low carbon economy
Fossil fuels' greenhouse gas emissions have caused global warming. To avoid reaching temperatures that can devastate the planet, countries have to decarbonize their energy emissions. The transition offers an excellent opportunity for the mining industry since transportation systems and low-emission energy are more mineral intensive than fossil-based counterparts. Mining companies that use renewable energy operate hydrogen-powered or electric truck fleets, and incorporate recycling their value chains will be considered best for selling low-carbon premium minerals.