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The Mining Industry in 2021

2022-08-10
By Mohamed Zaki

Given this past year’s heavy challenges, including COVID-19’s pandemic, the mining industry overcame the obstacles and developed a few trends that are now valuable to a lot of Companies. The unexpected events of 2020 forced a change to develop new strategies to approach the mining sector in different ways. Several trends have been developed by many Companies that were noticeable. In this article, we will have a look at 2 trends and how they helped mining Companies through this year.  

The first trend is Building Resilience and Volatility. With many uncertain events this year, leaders and managers from the mining sector were taught how to be flexible and how to come up with different scenarios for their organization. When doing this, they can anticipate obstacles that might hinder their productivity, which allows to build resilient organizations. This requires a strategic plan that can meet the balance between productivity and maintaining a safe work environment. When this is achieved, Companies can excel quickly while ensuring the health and safety of its workers.  

The second trend is related to more attention attributed to decarbonization. While the pandemic was a big factor, climate change remains an important aspect of the mining industry. This is a critical area as Companies work to meet the environmental obligation associated with their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG).  

Before effectively decarbonizing, mining Companies need to understand the impacts of climate change on their operations by setting a baseline using historical data. Following, Companies can obtain scientific information from organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), or the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), to then assess the forecast of their emissions reductions. Finally, when executing operations, mine sites can optimize by adjusting based on the collected data to effectively start decarbonizing. Some examples include innovating with new technologies, obtaining new methods for operation, software, safety, etc.  

Aside from the trends in 2021, the top 2 mining Companies in 2021 by market capitalization are BHP ($179B) and Rio Tinto ($132B). Both mining Companies produce a wide variety of minerals, mainly iron ore and copper. Vale, with a market capitalization of $112B, comes in third after BHP and Rio Tinto.   

Based on the data from 2021, the mining industry is moving towards electrification and using renewables for electricity, to contribute to ESG. Therefore, mining companies should be aware that this shift requires a lot more minerals for lithium batteries and other infrastructure to meet the demand of this change. Hence, it is important to create a balance between moving towards decarbonization and increasing productivity to meet the demand of this shift.  

References:  

The biggest mining companies in the World in 2021. (2021, August 05). Retrieved from https://www.mining.com/web/the-biggest-mining-companies-in-the-world-in-2021/  

Tracking the trends 2021. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/mining-and-metals/tracking-the-trends.html  

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