Miners know about balancing risks with opportunities better than anyone. And that’s a good thing because often what first appears to be a risk can, if handled well, turn into an opportunity. So, what are the risks and opportunities facing mining operations in 2023? Consulting giant Ernst & Young considers this question in a new whitepaper, Top 10 business risks and opportunities for mining and metals in 2023. Here, we’ll look at two of the ten, Costs & Productivity and Digital & Innovation, to offer our perspective on how miners can turn risks into opportunities.

Costs and Productivity

Ernst & Young conducts this risk/opportunity survey and report each year, and unsurprisingly, Costs & Productivity is a perennial favorite. This year, though, the category made a big leap, jumping in importance from #10 to #5. Rising inflation is undoubtedly at work here, affecting the costs of mining operations and potentially delaying some companies’ growth plans.

When we speak to mining companies about the reasons they’re looking for a new mining ERP application, productivity and cost control are high on their lists too. The clients we work with find that an effective way to boost productivity and control costs is by automating workflows, connecting business functions, and using operational insights to make strategic decisions more quickly. By linking business systems, including finance, procurement, inventory management, maintenance, and workforce management, mining companies lower the costs of back-office operations. In addition, integration promotes productivity as manual data entry tasks and report compilation are automated.

Digital and Innovation

The Digital & Innovation category dropped two places in importance in this latest survey — an indication we attribute to the fact that most mining companies have been on their digital transformation journeys for several years now. In fact, leveraging technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics Process Automation (RPA), Machine Learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced operational reporting has become table stakes for a modern mining operation.

Ernst & Young wisely points out that digital and data play a key role in supporting miners as they execute sustainability roadmaps — partly by providing greater visibility across asset performance and monitoring, something we talk about here. And (spoiler alert) sustainability — more specifically Environmental, Social, and Governance, or ESG, hold the number one spot on the survey for the second year in a row.

Technology helps you reduce risk and capitalize on opportunities

There’s a theme running throughout this year’s survey. Read through the whitepaper and we think you’ll agree that each of the Top 10 Risks and Opportunities explored can be mitigated and/or monetized through the targeted use of technology. In combination with well-vetted strategies, carefully planning, and skilled execution, technology and innovation are clear enablers of opportunity and success in 2023 and beyond.

Caron Mining Solutions is a comprehensive, powerful and easy-to-use mining industry ERP solution, built on Sage ERP software, that addresses the challenges modern mining operations face. Read more about Caron Mining Solutions or contact us with your questions.

Paul has been involved with mining ERP software for almost 30 years. He brings a well-rounded perspective to business management software implementation projects. His depth of knowledge and expertise in business process analysis has benefited several clients.