MINING METALS

Mining & Metals

Global production trends in developing countries such as China, South America, and Africa have seen a shift from developed to developing mining. Population growth, urbanization, and related service infrastructure development have been significant drivers as modernization takes place. Also, the change from underground to open-pit and strip mining techniques have led to the development of large scale equipment and more efficient mineral processing. With these new technological developments, it is now possible to mine ores of lesser grades and more complex mineralogy without increasing costs. This is vital, because as metals continue to be dominated by iron, copper, nickel, gold ores, and bauxite—all of which account for the majority of the total value of all metals produced globally—the market remains vulnerable to cyclical fluctuations and competitive pressures.

Cost inflation, global economic uncertainties, softening commodity prices, increased capital costs, and government regulatory actions pose challenges and stressed margins for mining and metal companies.

To combat these negative influences, mining and metal companies consider consolidation strategies, automation technology, owner-operated mines, and investment in energy assets as steps to mitigate the impact of rising costs. While volatility is likely to continue over the short term, long-term industry fundamentals, however, are expected to remain positive.

The trend of mine production moving to the emerging economies is expected to continue. Latin America and Africa will expand faster than China, and exploration will continue in other areas such as Australia and Canada. For the future, the challenge of anticipating and meeting the increasing demand for mined products will continue as the industry evolves with an ever-evolving operational environment.

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