Revealed: the mining companies best positioned to weather future industry disruption
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Revealed: the mining companies best positioned to weather future industry disruption

By Nicu Calcea and  By Georges Corbineau 23 Aug 2021 (Last Updated December 7th, 2021 03:54)

Fortescue Metals leads in an Australia-heavy top ten based on extensive research by GlobalData

Revealed: the mining companies best positioned to weather future industry disruption
Fortescue Metals tops GlobalData’s Mining Thematic Scorecard

Fortescue Metals, the fourth biggest iron ore producer in the world, is the mining company best positioned to take advantage of future disruption in the industry, according to GlobalData analysts.

The Australian firm comes top of the list in a ranking of overall leadership in the 10 themes that matter the most to the mining sector.

These themes, which can be defined as any issues that keep CEOs awake at night, describe technological, macroeconomic and industry-specific challenges that companies are currently facing, as well as the opportunities they create. GlobalData’s Thematic Research ecosystem identifies and tracks these challenges, and how they create the long-term winners and losers of the mining industry.

Fortescue Metals score highly in several areas, including Autonomous Vehicles, where it currently has a fleet of 193 autonomous haul trucks and has claimed the introduction of autonomous haulage technology at its operations has resulted in a 30% increase in productivity. The Australian iron ore producer has also partnered with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) to build a zero-emission electric haul truck for mining operations, which was, in part, responsible for the company also receiving top marks for its Environmental performance. Its subsidiary, Fortescue Future Industries, has also been advancing projects across Australia to build large-scale renewable energy and green hydrogen production capacity.

On Climate Change, the company has brought forward its carbon neutrality target from 2040 to 2030, the earliest target date of all the miners, and its Workplace Safety record is also amongst the best of the leading miners, with no fatalities in the last six years and a relatively low total recordable injury frequency rate.

These scores represent GlobalData analysts’ assessments of the competitiveness of each company regarding a particular theme. They are then weighted based on their importance and used to create the final industry ranking.

Fortescue Metals is followed in our ranking by several gold mining firms – US-based Newmont, Russia-based Polyus, South African Gold Fields, Australia’s Newcrest Mining and Canada’s Kirkland Lake Gold.

US-based gold mining firm Newmont followed Fortescue in our scorecard, with both companies being recently highlighted as ESG leaders in GlobalData’s 2020 Sustainability in Mining report for “pioneering the use of renewable energy, battery-powered vehicles and setting aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets”.

Another gold mining company, South African Gold Fields, was also highly-ranked in GlobalData’s Thematic Scorecard, having announced new projects on digitising mines and renewable power operations.

The interactive graphic below allows you to compare company ratings across the 10 themes in question. The higher up a company is on the list, the better positioned it is to weather disruption in the future, while the companies at the bottom are more vulnerable to disruptive threats.

Click on any of the companies to compare them across all the themes in our analysis.

Our analysis reveals that Australian companies – led by Fortescue Metals – are some of the best-prepared mining players in the mining sector. On a scale of one to five, Australian companies received an average score of 3.7, with Fortescue leading the country’s scorecard with a score of 4.5.

Australia also has one of the highest representations among top mining companies, being home to five out of 50 of the companies in the GlobalData analysis, only behind China and Canada. However, this number doesn’t include multi-national corporations such as Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto or companies that have significant operations in Australia, such as AngloGold Ashanti.

Overall, 44% of the top companies in the GlobalData Thematic Scorecard are from the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), including China.

In the case of Australia, where the five companies on our list shine brightest is in the Workplace Safety theme, scoring an average of 4.4 out of five. Commodity Markets and ESG, Climate Change, and Capital Raising were also among the most promising themes for Australian companies, while investment in Lithium-Ion Batteries was below the scorecard average.

Companies based in other countries had their own strengths and weaknesses: Chinese corporations, for example, perform well on capital raising but poorly when it comes to Climate Change, while British companies are more ambitious when it comes to Climate Change and score well on Commodity Markets. For the latter, Rio Tinto, for example, has benefited from the steep rise in iron ore prices over the last 12 months, and is looking to build its position in copper. The successful development of the Jadar project in Serbia would also improve its position in lithium-ion battery theme.

These scores are based on overall technology, macroeconomic and sector-specific leadership in 10 of the key themes that matter most to the mining industry and are generated by GlobalData analysts’ assessments.

For an even more in-depth look at these scores, as well as risk and valuation scorecards for mining companies, see GlobalData’s Thematic Research page.