The momentous report on digitalization, 4IR, and ESG in South African mining.

The Minerals Council of South Africa, in collaboration with PwC and the Mandela Mining Precinct, will soon release its new 2022/23 report on the State of Digitalization and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4) and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) mining in South Africa.

“What is glaringly obvious though, is that our miners have distinctly moved on from pondering ‘the why’ in terms of digital transformation, to ‘the how’ and ‘the what’. This is encouraging and so mining is moving firmly away from a perceived notion that it is a laggard in adopting 4IR and digitalisation,” Baxter said. He noted that, conversely, mining industry leaders were driving the digital transformation vision and, therefore, expected to enjoy the results in the next few years. These industry leaders were also very clear about their companies’ roles in meeting ESG expectations and, therefore, had “powerful and thought-provoking” insights to share and enact.

“Digital transformation is essential—a non-negotiable, if you will—to mining as it acts as a seamless thread across all processes in the mining value chain, improving safety and health, safety, production, workforce, and governance,” said Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter in Johannesburg on February 22 when presenting the report’s highlights.

He said that the implementation of these processes must be done carefully and responsibly, which was the basis for recent studies that included ESG considerations and mining as a result.

The first of these annual surveys was conducted in 2020, although it did not include ESG. Instead, the focus was only on key strategies for the completion of enterprise modernization and digitization programs.

Many mining companies referenced the original report to start or accelerate their digitization and IR4 readiness. The outbreak of COVID-19 has also affected the industry, which has adopted digitization and IR4 technologies in its operations.
The inclusion of ESG considerations in the latest research was done to align the industry with what is expected of businesses in today’s world, explained Baxter.

The survey’s target audience was primarily CEOs or newly appointed CEOs of their companies. Representatives of organized labor were also interviewed, after which the research was anonymized.

“The aim was to get a wide range of views to extrapolate the impact of digital transformation on mining and ESG in South Africa, both formulating impact statements and addressing ‘so what’. 

 The study extrapolated more than 30 views. , although it was narrowed down to 10. 

 “The striking difference from previous studies is how productive and unified these things have become. We can no longer talk or think about these issues in silos – they are integrated, holistically connected and involve systems, systems,” said Baxter. 

 The report’s ten insights provide insight into the current state of the mining industry, he added. 

 The first review highlights how mining CEOs and their managers are more informed in their decision-making processes. The second view emphasizes the application of technology where it has the greatest measurable advantage, while the third view recognizes that the search for value requires collaboration and compromise. The fourth overview sheds light on how digital tools not only measure, but also advance the mining industry. 

 The Fifth Sight discusses the importance of sustainability and how it has become one of the crown jewels of the industry. Vision Six expresses confidence in the industry’s ability to meet any challenge and highlights the tools at its disposal to succeed. The Seventh Sight draws attention to the importance of people and how the industry must compete globally for talent. 

 The Eighth View asks, Is ESG critical to a company’s survival or just a tick? The ninth overview shows how regulations shape ESG for better or worse. Finally, the tenth overview highlights how ESG creates long-term value and is critical to the success of the mining industry.

Baxter said the report showed that South African mining industry leaders recognize the opportunity to use technology infrastructure such as information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve their ESG management systems, particularly through the use of data from the  mining industry and its value chain. processes and disciplines. 

 “It is also  clear that giving up separate point solutions is an increasingly popular choice. Use, reuse, optimize and reuse  one executive. And so some miners emphasize the importance of data mining,” he said. 

 Baxter noted that modern integration required new approaches, new ways of thinking and extraordinary planning, which meant that  new skills were required. 

 He said managers now expect more up-to-date insights from their technical teams, ICT departments and ESG functions such as risk, governance, environmental and social functions. 

 “What was appropriate and worked ten years ago is no longer sufficient to meet the goals of modern mining. Uncertainty, complexity and diversity must be managed differently,  so mining is learning from other industries,” Baxter explained. 

 He said there are significant things. an opportunity for a better use of digital technologies  for ESG purposes – a notion supported by organized labor – and that mining CEOs  know and intuitively expect that information flow and information sharing for ESG activities will take place through digital systems 

 Mechanics that are  standards and reference architectures have been . extensively researched to improve that and implementation. 

 “The references and feedback from  respondents so far suggest that digital transformation and ESG practices are paying off – both qualitatively and quantitatively. The improvements are visible, emphasized Baxter. 

 He added that mining companies are also increasingly seizing opportunities to solve problems , which others such as state-owned Eskom and Transnet could not, with an attitude of “we can’t wait any longer, we will get things done”.

 Baxter said the country’s CEOs and mining  were increasingly focused on sustainability and limiting environmental damage. 

 Baxter added that the report included recommendations from CEOs – specifically that collaboration in the mining industry is critical to success. The report also notes that interested stakeholders should take advantage of existing mechanisms that enable such cooperation. 

 The Board of Minerals Council commissioned the PwC Smart Mining Team and the Real Time Information Management System Program for the Mandela Mining District to conduct this study every two years. 

 The latest investigation report is available for download on the PwC website and in the coming days on  the Minerals Council and Mandela Mining Precinct websites. 

 “We expect this study and its results to have a profound impact and impact on how we process metals and minerals in the future,” Baxter said.


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