Mentions of digitalisation within the filings of companies in the mining industry fell 13% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to digitalisation during 2021 was 538% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from which 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 digitalisation 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 that have mentioned digitalisation at least once in filings during the past 12 months – this was 61% compared to 29% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to digitalisation.
Of the 10 biggest employers in the mining industry, Sibanye-Stillwater was the company that referred to digitalisation the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 109 digitalisation-related sentences in the South Africa-based company's filings – 0.6% of all sentences. Nippon Steel mentioned digitalisation the second most – the issue was referred to in 0.5% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high digitalisation mentions included Honeywell, ThyssenKrupp, and Mitsubishi.
Across all companies in the mining industry, the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 that exhibited the greatest focus on digitalisation came from Orica. Of the document's 2,315 sentences, 20 (0.9%) 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 digitalisation with 0.6% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in the US mentioned digitalisation in just 0.09% of sentences.