The mining and metals industry is currently going through a period of struggle due to fluctuating markets and low commodity prices. This has caused companies to focus on reducing costs, automating processes, and becoming more efficient. Although the demand for minerals will increase in the future, certain trends will determine which companies will be successful.
With that said, here are five trends influencing the mining and metals industry in the coming years:
1. Big Data and Mining
Mining organizations must collect and process vast amounts of data as they transition to digital and automated operations. How much of this data should be shared and made accessible is an ongoing point of interest. Governments may raise awareness of corporate affiliate structures to protect against taxation erosion, consumers may call for greater visibility along the value chain, and investors may use the abundance of non-financial information to evaluate their investments’ risks accurately.
In addition, environmental groups may require companies to surpass the EITI Standard and communities affected by mining may wish to access data that reflect the externalities that affect them. Companies must work with all stakeholders to settle on what data should be made public and the most suitable format to present it to guarantee uniformity, impact, and efficacy.
2. Low-Carbon Economy Transition
The need for minerals and metals to facilitate the energy transition is expected to be high as the world moves away from fossil fuels to reduce emissions. The shift away from using traditional sources of energy, such as coal and petroleum, will require a larger use of materials such as copper, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth elements. This shift will provide a major opportunity for the mining sector to meet this increased demand and help nations achieve their climate targets.
3. New Methods to Finance Mining
Mining companies will begin using new and innovative methods for financing and production as they seek to reduce their risk. This is in response to the shift in commodity prices after China’s increased demand at the start of the 21st century. Mining companies have had to adjust by focusing on lowering their debt and managing their finances better.
To help with these issues, new financing methods, such as royalty and metal stream agreements, have been developed to help reduce the financial burden on mining companies. To reduce the amount of risk that comes with taking on new, costly projects, these alternative financing solutions are expected to become more popular.
4. New Technologies to Find Resources
Mining companies must explore uncharted areas to find new mineral resources as resources in low-risk locations become scarce. New technologies will allow for more precise and efficient mining, which could be improved further with advancements in mining processes like in-situ leaching, block caving, and biomining. Companies must be willing to risk venturing into these frontier areas to uncover valuable resources.
5. Mining Social Contracts
For mining projects to be successful in the future, they must ensure that the local communities near the sites benefit from them. This could be done by providing employment opportunities, better infrastructure, cleaner water and air, and other resources that improve the quality of life for the affected people. Developing these benefits will be necessary to gain the license to operate from local communities and ensure the project’s long-term success.
The mining and metals industry is an ever-evolving field that requires a deep understanding of the latest trends. These trends are transforming the industry and creating new opportunities for businesses to succeed. It is exciting to see how these trends will continue to shape the industry and open up new possibilities for the future.
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