Mentions of digitalisation within the filings of companies in the mining industry fell 25% between the second and third quarters of 2021.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to digitalisation between October 2020 and September 2021 was 480% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When companies in the mining industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports, and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Digitalisation is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether digitalization is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the mining industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned digitalization at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 63% compared to 31% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to digitalisation.
Of the 50 biggest employers in the mining industry, Metalurgica Gerdau SA was the company which referred to digitalisation the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified 33 digitalisation-related sentences in the Brazil-based company's filings – 3.2% of all sentences. Tata Steel Ltd mentioned digitalisation the second most – the issue was referred to in 1.2% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high digitalisation mentions included MMC Norilsk Nickel, Severstal, and Sandvik AB.
Across all companies in the mining industry, the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 that exhibited the greatest focus on digitalisation came from Metalurgica Gerdau SA. Of the document's 1,030 sentences, 33 (3.2%) referred to digitalisation.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on digitalisation and how important the issue is considered within the mining industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning digitalisation more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into digitalisation have been successes or failures.
In the last quarter, companies in the mining industry based in Eastern Europe were most likely to mention digitalization with 0.58% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in the US mentioned digitalisation in just 0.07% of sentences.