2012-11-29 12:04:33 -
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 11/29/12 -- Canadian mining companies should be investing now to ensure they can fulfill future global demand for commodities even as they face a series of immediate challenges affecting the global mining sector, according to a new report from Deloitte that was released today. The report, Tracking the trends 2013, provides commentary and analysis of the top 10 issues most likely to impact the mining sector in 2013 and provides a range of responses that companies can adopt to prepare for shifting industry dynamics.
According to the Deloitte report, now in its fifth year of distribution, miners need to set a solid strategic direction and hold the course amidst shifting industry realities in order to prosper when global demand for commodities rebounds in the longer term. Beyond finding ways to control costs and improve their demand forecasts, Canada's mining companies should be preparing for increased mergers and acquisitions activity in 2013, strengthening their relationships with local governments in order to minimize the impact of growing resource nationalism in various countries and finding innovative ways to cope with a looming skills shortage. They also need to expand their use of information technology and data analytics to enhance safety, improve operations and reduce costs.
"For the second year in a row, mounting costs tops the list of the key issues affecting the mining industry," said Glenn Ives, Americas Mining Leader, Deloitte Canada. "This is expected to worsen in the short term as commodity prices continue to dip, workers demand higher wages and regulatory costs rise. But rather than halting production in the face of shareholder demands for more immediate returns, miners should be making investments today to meet the expected long-term demand for commodities."
"This continues to be a challenging environment for mining companies, in Canada and around the world," said Jurgen Beier, National Mining Leader, Deloitte Canada. "By focusing on some key areas, such as combatting corruption, enhancing corporate social responsibility practices and making increasing use of information technology and data analytics, companies can improve their prospects when global demand inevitably rebounds."
According to the Deloitte report, these are the top 10 issues for the mining sector in 2013, along with some of the things companies can do to mitigate them:
-- Higher costs: This remains the number one trend for the second year in a
row. Currency volatility, high operating costs, and lower grades are
affecting decisions around continued production, expansions and the
delinking of corporate equity from commodity prices. To get costs under
control, mining companies must pinpoint their cost drivers, automate,
improve asset efficiency with analytics, improve their operating model
and streamline the supply chain initiatives.
-- Demand uncertainty: China's deceleration of growth, combined with the
widening gap between its official global demand data and observable
reality, has adversely affected commodity prices and investment
decisions. Rather than halting production and risking an inability to
meet future demand, mining companies should consider applying game
theory to enhance their scenario planning to guide their capital project
-- Capital project deceleration: Although mining executives are hesitant to
authorize new capital expenditures at a time of tightened margins and
ongoing pressure to pay shareholder dividends, the report suggests the
correct response may be less about freezing projects or waiting until
commodity prices and government intentions settle and more about making
disciplined investment decisions through such measures as project
rationalization, improved capital efficiency, data analytics and project
delivery quality assurance.
-- Increased M&A volumes: As a result of limited debt financing, some
mining companies are seeking to enter deals pre-emptively with partners
of their choice through "proactive and rescue M&As," with transaction
volumes likely to rise into 2013 and Asian investors remaining frequent
providers of development capital. To improve the odds of transactional
success, the report suggests engaging in more comprehensive due
diligence to assess potential partners and planning in advance for the
-- Resource nationalism: Governments around the world are exercising
several forms of resource nationalism, from mining industry
privatization and expropriation to windfall taxes, resource taxes and
export controls, making it harder for mining companies to accurately
forecast production schedules, understand long-term risk profiles or
develop models to guide decision making over time. Miners need to work
to strengthen their relationships with national governments, diversify
their commodity mix and geographic area of focus, and demonstrate the
industry's value to local governments and citizens.
-- Combatting corruption: Mining companies are already adopting global
transparency standards to counter the risks posed by corruption, but
they will need even more responsible practices in the face of heightened
regulatory scrutiny, both of themselves and their partners, suppliers,
service providers, vendors, agents and intermediaries. Combatting
corruption will require the adoption of strong corporate practices and
procedures, including third-party relationship management, internal
compliance programs, and investigation readiness.
-- A new level of responsible behavior: Corporate social responsibility
extends beyond impact assessments and now requires meeting the
expectations and demands from Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and
other relevant stakeholders, and operating with higher levels of
transparency and sustainability. Mining companies will need to commit to
a higher level of responsible behavior by embedding sustainability into
their internal metrics, their capital project methodologies and their
negotiations with local communities, governments, NGOs and regulators.
-- Skills shortages: While the immediate pressure on the labor force has
temporarily eased in some jurisdictions as mining companies postpone
projects or reduce production, the looming skills shortage in the long
run remains chronic. Mining companies should tackle the skills shortage
by strengthening their team's skillset, re-training existing workers to
fulfill different functions, recruiting from non-traditional labour
pools, sponsoring university programs and engaging in workforce
-- Analytics to improve safety outcomes: The dangers associated with mining
are on the rise, particularly as companies move to more remote and less
hospitable regions. To better understand the factors that cause safety
incidents, mining companies should implement predictive modeling and
apply new analytical tools and technologies to existing processes to
improve preventative maintenance, identify at-risk segments and improve
-- Getting the most out of emerging - and existing - technologies: Despite
demonstrated willingness to innovate, many mining companies fail to
leverage back-end technology such as data analytics or properly
integrating disparate technology platforms following an M&A. To improve
operations while reducing costs, they should revisit their IT strategies
and consider investing in programmable logic controllers (PLCs),
supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, manufacturing
execution systems (MES), business intelligence systems, data analytics
and advanced manufacturing systems.
The Deloitte report concludes that mining companies that proactively resolve these endemic issues will be better able to meet future commodity requirements despite today's volatile conditions and are likely to increase their role in the advancement of local communities, support of undeveloped economies and growth of jobs and skilled talent around the world.
To view the report, please visit www.deloitte.com/ca/mining-trends.
Deloitte, one of Canada's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services through more than 8,000 people in 56 offices. Deloitte operates in Quebec as Samson Belair/Deloitte & Touche s.e.n.c.r.l. Deloitte & Touche LLP, an Ontario Limited Liability Partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.
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