Mentions of big data within the filings of companies in the mining industry rose 16% between the second and third quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to big data between October 2020 and September 2021 was 187% 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 that have mentioned big data at least once in filings during the past twelve months – this was 51% compared to 23% 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, Metalurgica Gerdau was the company that referred to big data the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified seven big data-related sentences in the Brazil-based company's filings – 0.7% of all sentences. Caterpillar mentioned big data the second most – the issue was referred to in 0.3% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high big data mentions included KGHM Polska Miedz , Honeywell International and MMC Norilsk Nickel .

Across all companies in the mining industry the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on big data came from Metalurgica Gerdau. Of the document's 1,030 sentences, seven (0.7%) 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 third quarter of 2021 was "data analytics", which made up 60% of all big data subtheme mentions by companies in the mining industry.