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New digital drivers such as automation and machine learning are growing in prominence in industrial minerals mining in parallel with the increased focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG).

While ESG and digital can work hand in hand to support mining companies in improving their performance and securing the future of their operations, care must be taken to make sure those adopting new digital tools are not creating a rod for their own back in generating more and more data, but without the ability to glean insights and apply intelligence from it. It’s not enough to simply collect more data, you have to be able to use it to foster transparency in ESG.

Data management foundations

It is well understood that industry leaders must act now in order to be well-prepared for the changes that are being introduced by inextricably connected ESG issues and technological developments. But for leadership teams facing a multitude of operational changes, pressurised budgets and increasingly stringent regulations – as well as customers, investors and potential employees all asking more and more questions about ESG performance – it may seem almost an impossible journey to navigate, and one that is almost certainly going to require significant investment.

When looking to transform organisations and their operations by adopting new digital tools and solutions, all too often the foundations of good data management have been overlooked as a result of an eagerness to demonstrate a commitment to driving progress and to get to the next big solution. Without sound data management in place, digital tools will only create more challenges for mining companies rather than provide the very solutions to help organisations become more efficient, sustainable and profitable.

The good news is, for those at the helm of driving these step changes from within mining companies – help is readily at hand.

Avoiding the pitfalls

Today, it is increasingly incumbent on software providers to work with mining companies in order to lighten the load and reduce the burden of moving through a digital transformation. By working with experienced, knowledgeable experts, leadership teams can not only avoid the common pitfalls that can drain resource and budget, they can reinforce the case for change that will ultimately deliver real innovation and genuine progress in improving ESG performance.

When data is well structured and easily accessible, it can bring together teams, resources and insights from across a company’s operations, creating the opportunity to collaborate and drive real improvements in ESG performance. With the right software and data management in place, companies are empowered to make better, more sustainable decisions about their earth, environment, and energy challenges.

Breaking down digital silos

The challenge is that data inevitably sits within different systems, architectures and platforms, and unlocking those silos and bringing down those barriers to collaboration becomes exceptionally challenging. Now, with the support of expert software providers, mining companies can access the help they need to support them in moving through the digital transformation whilst avoiding the common pitfalls associated with changing the ways of working.

At Seequent, we’re working with companies looking to employ effective digital tools to support their ESG efforts. Through building and refining geological digital twins capable of inputting large data sets to generate detailed models that help to inform operation-critical decisions, we are helping mining companies to bypass time-consuming wireframing so they are able to quickly visualise and interpret geological data. Operators are then able to connect, confer and analyse the most up to date models which enables time-critical decisions to be made then and there, even if teams are spread across a global geography. Combined with sophisticated model management platforms that provide a repository for all modelling data, operators have easy and ready access to the exact data they need, when they need it.

With the right blend of technology and tools, companies can ensure compliance with increasingly stringent regulations, allowing them to meet the ESG gold standard and deliver genuine and demonstrable sustainability and efficiency efforts. New technologies and digital solutions empower companies to make better and more sustainable decisions about their operations, their environment and their energy challenges. But technology itself is not sufficient to improve ESG performance. Successful digital transformations can only be delivered through building trust in technologies and employing rigorous data management strategies. Mining companies can then wield the power of data in driving their ESG agendas, rather than become overwhelmed by it.

Read more about how mining companies are driving real change in ESG performance and where there is more work to be done in the:
Industrial Minerals Insight Paper | Moving the ESG needle in mining from threat to opportunity

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