Canadian Manufacturing

Canadian mining companies aren’t implementing digital technologies: report

With the perception that mining is too simple to warrant digital investment, an Ernst & Young study found only 31 per cent of mining executives prioritize digital transformation. For 15 per cent it isn't on their agenda at all


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CALGARY—There is a gap between the productivity potential from digital transformation and the poor track record of implementation in the mining sector.

This is according to a new Ernst & Young (EY) report, The digital disconnect: problem or pathway.

Of 700 respondents from the mining sector, EY’s survey found only 31 per cent say digital transformation is high on their agenda; 15 per cent say it isn’t on their agenda at all.

The report found that companies are struggling with the large amount of information available, the costs involved and the processes required to implement digital technologies. There is also a misconception in the sector that mining is simple enough not to warrant digital investment.

EY says that there are challenges with mining companies adopting new technologies, such as plant control systems, GPS technologies, automated haulage and data storage.

“Companies are hesitant when it comes to making digital investments. While concerns around everything from perception to implementation are real, the key is to have a clear vision for what a digital future might look like. With that vision, companies can better address their top operational risk: productivity,” said Iain Thompson, EY BC Mining & Metals, advisory services leader.

The report outlines three keys to a digital transformation strategy:

  1. Digital alignment to the productivity agenda
  2. A market-to-mine approach to business
  3. Leadership and culture to support the elimination of loss

EY says adoption of digital technologies can help optimize productivity rates, enhance asset availability and reliability, and increase agility and responsiveness to changes in market factors.

“By identifying areas for improvement and where past successes have been won, mining operators can make the jump to digitization, increase productivity and decrease costs. The bottom line is the mining sector needs to embrace the digital opportunity or risk falling behind the productivity curve,” said Thompson.


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