Digital transformation in the South African mining industry

The Minerals Council partnered with PwC last year to investigate the state of digital transformation in the South African mining industry. The aim of the research was to gain an understanding of how the mining industry visualises the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) on its people, processes and technologies; how it perceives the evolution of 4IR on their businesses in the years to come; and what steps they are taking to transform their businesses in anticipation of these changes.

The research, which canvassed the views of 23 executives across 19 Minerals Council Members, culminated in the launch of a first of its kind report in February 2021. The report titled “Ten Insights into 4IR – The State of Digital Transformation in the South African Mining Industry” unpacks ten emerging trends that the researchers believe are consistent with other international studies and can be used by mining executives and other decision makers to navigate their digital transformation journey.

South Africa’s mining industry is set to undergo significant transformation in the next decade with advances in technology and innovation driving a lot of what we currently see in the mining industry going forward.

With the digital world presenting so much opportunity and disruption, mining companies will need to be more agile when thinking about how to align technology with their business needs, as well as making the right choices on partnership and implementation.

“Digital is a pivotal game-changer in the mining industry. According to our research, some mining companies consider themselves as digital champions and innovators that will pilot new technologies without waiting for others to prove it first. New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), smart sensors, big data analytics, 3D printing and machine learning will all boost productivity in the mining industry. In the process, mining companies will need to look at ways to upskill their workforces to work in this new world as it will require new skills in order to unlock the benefits of digital transformation,” says Pieter Theron, PwC Partner Advisory Services and Head of Industry 4.0 South Africa.

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