Introducing the State of Play: Strategy serialised report

Strategy design is dynamic process. It requires an innate understanding of the external environment, as well as a clear-eyed view of internal capability to derive competitive advantage. Executives in the mining industry should be cognisant of the dangers in following the crowd. In particular, we have heard many accounts of mining and services companies investing heavily in areas outside their competitive advantage and losing value as a result.


State of Play will be releasing our State of Play: Strategy report in a serialised format over the coming months, of which this is the first instalment. The full report is also available for download from https://www.stateofplay.org


This report is not designed to provide a blueprint for strategy development. Instead, it seeks to use our unique dataset and conversations with business leaders to understand the range of different strategic moves being made by a range of different innovative companies throughout the value chain. From radically different business models that shift value accretion efficiently to usage of a product, to gaining value from provenance or investing in fundamental shifts in operating models, the breadth of mining business model innovation is impressive and ought to be watched closely.


It comes to no surprise that technology is set to fundamentally alter the nature of the industry but understanding how it will impact is still a challenge. Given the inherent unpredictability of technology development, laying a foundation of data collection and building in optionality into the design of assets and systems avoids the impossible task of pre-empting technology development. However, we are starting to see a step-change in sensing capability, and marvel at the potential offered by artificial intelligence. These digital investments come with significant cyber security risks, which are currently chronically underestimated in an industry accustomed to dealing with risk seriously and effectively. In the physical space, new manufacturing techniques offer new opportunities for construction and mineral demand, while the promise of biotechnology is worth further investment.


The mining industry may be suffering from a shortfall in exploration successes, but we are inclined to back a combination of small, agile explorers and the right data and analytical capabilities to break the game open. On the other hand, new extraction methods are likely to shift mining operating models and could lead to a radical overhaul in orebody viability.


Finally, while we have cautioned against future-telling throughout this report, our ability to predict could potentially be alleviated by developing a range of capabilities in decision-making, both technological and human.


Ultimately, this report serves as a snapshot of the most exciting, disruptive and impactful strategic trends within the mining industry. Executives can keep abreast of these developments through careful scanning of industry trends and being open to exploring business model change within their own organisations. Let the strategic games begin…

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