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Accenture Digital Mining Survey Infographic (Graphic: Business Wire)

Stocks in this article: ACN

North American metals and mining companies’ investment in digital has increased over the past three years, and will continue to rise as companies seek to disrupt traditional business models to maintain their competitive position, control costs and stay viable, according to an Accenture (NYSE:ACN) survey of mining executives in Canada and the United States.

One-quarter of mining executives surveyed said their overall digital investment in the past three years has doubled or more. Almost all companies surveyed (93 per cent) are satisfied with their digital investment and the associated business outcomes. In the next three years, 33 per cent will significantly increase their digital investment, 63 per cent will increase their spending modestly, while only 5 per cent will keep spending the same. No companies surveyed are planning to cut back on digital investments in the next three years.

Nine out of 10 executives surveyed said that a business strategy that incorporates digital technology will revolutionize the way they do business to a degree similar to the advent of the Internet in the 1990s, and will provide a significant source of value to the business. Companies that do not embrace digital will lose their competitive position and may face extinction, according to 88 per cent of respondents.

“Now more than ever, North American metals and mining companies are turning to digital, a new frontier for metals and mining companies to improve operations, productivity and identify growth opportunities,” said Jose J. Suarez, Managing Director, Mining (North America) at Accenture. “We know that mobility devices can be used to track maintenance and reliability – and provide miners with better status updates that result in faster decision-making. Also, with analytics and big data, the integration of resource modelling data and operation status can help metals and mining companies to better control operational costs.”

Even so, the survey shows there is more work to be done for digital adoption within the metals and mining sector. While some North American mining executives are investing in digital to gain a competitive advantage (58 per cent), some said they are just trying to keep pace with their competitors (42 per cent). Whether they are trying to stay ahead or keep pace with the competition, almost all mining executives surveyed (96 per cent) are projecting an increase in their digital investment in the next three years. Three-quarters said they feel they are ahead of their peers when it comes to digital.

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