In brief

In brief

  • South African mining companies are pouring millions of Rands into digital technologies. But their gains from these investments have been muted.
  • Accenture’s research shows that the mining industry can create ZAR213 billion in value through 2026 by investing in the right digital initiatives.
  • Local mines could miss out on over a third of this value if they do not invest in key foundational technologies—e.g., analytics, integrated platforms.

Accenture’s research shows that South African mining companies are struggling to clock sizeable gains from their investments in digital technologies because they have skipped a key step in their digital transformation journeys.

Making the most of their digital investments is particularly important for this sector as a series of economic slowdowns and business disruptions have repeatedly erased significant value from their books. Now, according to Accenture estimates based on Oxford Economics data, business disruptions brought about by COVID-19 could shrink the sector’s value-add output by 3 percent in 2020 alone.

South Africa’s mining industry can add ZAR213 billion in value by 2026 if they invest in seven key digital initiatives.

Accenture’s research, developed in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2017, reveals that a combination of seven digital initiatives can help South Africa’s mining industry create ZAR213 billion ($14 billion) in value through 2026. To understand how local mining companies are addressing digitalisation, Accenture conducted a survey of 30 local mining executives in 2019. When we looked at their choices of technology vis-à-vis the value creation opportunity, some striking findings emerged.

Our survey reveals that South African mining companies are likely to miss out on more than a third (ZAR51 billion) of the value-creation opportunity because they have skipped a key step in their digital transformation journeys—they have overlooked investments in key foundational technologies such as advanced analytics and integrated platforms.

A lack of focus on key foundational technologies—e.g., advanced analytics and integrated platforms—means mines cannot fully tap the gains from current digital technology investments

Closing the digital value gap in South Africa mining

These foundational technologies are vital to enable miners to more completely tap the gains available from the digital technologies already deployed and successfully scale initiatives.

So, what should they do? We examined the best practices adopted by leading mining companies globally and two key insights emerged. Leaders in this sector are:

  • Aligning workforce skills to technologies of choice and wisely choose the right channels to fulfil the skills gaps in their organisations.
  • Leveraging the entire ecosystem and forge unique collaborations to create value with foundational technologies.

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