Mining Firms Look to IT in 2011


"Expanding companies are likely to invest in technologies that get them up-and-running more easily in remote locations."

Mining Weekly

The mining industry has accelerated its investment in IT as it looks to address cost-reduction and productivity issues.

With commodity prices booming and demand soaring, this is an exciting time to be part of the mining industry. And as the global economy continues to rebound, mining firms can look forward to a prosperous future—provided they can successfully address a number of cost-reduction and efficiency issues.

That's the conclusion of a recent report from leading research firm IDC, Priorities in the Mining Sector.

The authors, IDC Manufacturing Insights Analysts Kimberly Knickle and Christopher Holmes, suggest that increasing complexity in the business environment—combined with a global increase in demand for raw materials—makes the increased use of technology an attractive proposition as a means of improving productivity goals and business process alignment.

"The type of IT spending will vary by region, company size and expansion mindset," notes the report. "For example, we expect larger companies to be focused on modernization of their existing IT infrastructures. Mining companies in expansion mode will be investing in supply chain but also technologies that get them up-and-running more easily in remote locations, such as datacenter-in-a-box or even health and safety/compliance-in-a-box. And the smallest companies will focus on ease of use and time to value and perhaps show more interest in as-a-service options—depending on the quality and consistency of their communications infrastructure."

While the key priority is increasing global operating effectiveness and efficiency, other top priorities include minimizing production, equipment and supply chain costs and disruptions; training and managing the workforce, including health and safety compliance; lowering the cost of regulatory compliance and expanding on sustainability strategies; improving demand analytics to guide production plans; and streamlining reporting for enhanced risk management. Technology can play a major part in alleviating many of these pressure points.

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