Mentions of big data within the filings of companies in the mining industry rose 72% between the first and second quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to big data between July 2020 and June 2021 was 150% 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. Big data 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 big data 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 big data at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 58% compared to 31% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to big data.

Of the 50 biggest employers in the mining industry, China Steel Corp was the company which referred to big data the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified 23 big data-related sentences in the Taiwan-based company's filings - 0.4% of all sentences. Tata Steel Ltd mentioned big data the second most - the issue was also referred to in 0.4% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high big data mentions included Caterpillar Inc, MMC Norilsk Nickel , and KGHM Polska Miedz SA.

Across all companies in the mining industry the filing published in the second quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on big data came from Tata Steel Ltd. Of the document's 5,755 sentences, 24 (0.4%) referred to big data.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on big data 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 big data 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 big data have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises big data mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the second quarter of 2021 was 'data analytics', which made up 70% of all big data subtheme mentions by companies in the mining industry.