Investment in – and adoption of – digital infrastructure is essential to the success of one of our most analogue industries. As calls for climate action intensify, Australian mining is nearing an existential crossroad.
Technology will undoubtedly pave the way to net zero. But adoption of technology will assist mining and other companies in two ways. One way is that it allows us to measure and achieve sustainability goals. The second way it that it drives operational efficiencies. This gives us planet and profit, not planet or profit.
Greater investment in digital infrastructure that closes information gaps across supply chains provides a clearer view of business operations, resulting in a raft of benefits across supply chain efficiency, extending the lifetime of valuable assets, and allowing a dispersed workforce to easily collaborate.
Picture a train conductor trying to manage a fleet of trains across a network, without any visibility of the broader network of tracks and trains. And now, picture the ensuing chaos when no one – not even the conductor – knows when a train will arrive at the platform. Bottlenecks, delays, energy wastage – and unhappy customers.
Put sensors on each of those trains and a screen for the conductor to survey the network, and like magic, those trains are running efficiently and on time.
Digitally enabling our mining sector puts companies’ most important assets on a highly visible network that realizes supply chain efficiencies. Hence, ultimately reducing wastage of time and resources and boosting sustainable initiatives.
As we usher in the era of net-zero ambitions, mining companies will need to develop measurable ESG and sustainability goals through enhanced reporting and data models that provide the necessary levels of transparency and agility to meet changing regulatory requirements.
In this way, prioritizing sustainability initiatives isn’t a death knell for the profitability of mining companies. Quite the opposite.
Research from data agency IDC suggests organizations that embrace sustainability are outperforming their peers when it comes to revenue and profitability. Companies that invest in developing the ability to provide detailed reporting and full transparency across their supply chains are creating competitive advantage. With a robust digital backbone at the core of their business, this is easily achieved.
By collating data from digitally-enabled mining equipment and assets across the supply chain, mining companies can access real-time information. This allows them to efficiently manage every part of their business and contribute to the all-important circular economy.
Ultimately, it’s a win-win.
To survive and thrive in an era in which investors, stakeholders and the public at large are scrutinizing a company’s sustainability credentials, mining companies must consider resource optimization, regulatory compliance, emissions tracking and supplier visibility.
To do this, they must be digitally led. Ultimately, all organizations must focus on establishing a roadmap that prioritizes immediate sustainability and performance action. This will result to both increase proﬁt and performance and meet sustainability targets.
The future of Australian mining needs a digital backbone at its core to satisfy stakeholders and customers. As well as to prepare an era of ever-increasing scrutiny.
Technology will pave the way to delivering on sustainability targets. If Australia’s mining industry can do this effectively, it will also pave the way to increased profit and performance.
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