PwC and the Minerals Council of South Africa (MCSA) conducted a study to measure how 4IR is building value in the South African mining industry and where it’s headed, this was presented by key speakers, Ian Mackay, Senior Manager at PwC South Africa and Jean-Jacques Verhaeghe, Programme Manager at the Mandela Mining Precinct. The webinar offered participants an opportunity to engage with the two experts and identify interventions that can be applied to their own particular circumstances.

Key postulation for success addressed in the webinar include:

  • The application of evolutionary engineering that focuses on changing contemporary meta-thinking;
  • Digital transformation, hyper-technology and the enhanced use(s) of data, should be deemed enablers (i.e., not end-states) and occur within standards and frameworks that subscribe to broader sustainability and solutioning objectives (the four ‘Rs’ linked to the triple-P).
  • The SAMI stakeholder vision (as a ‘system of many systems’) needs to be unified, coherent, supportive, and facilitates technology and knowledge transfer across all participants alike.
  • To apply design practices and thinking: Do so (explicitly planned) with the future in mind, 5,10, 20, even 50 years into the future and in relation to PESTEL (political, environmental, social, technological, economic, legal) and clearly presented in a sustainability strategy/framework.
  • Further embrace sophistication beyond technology alone, and complexity by leveraging it with the appropriate approach, mindset, skills, and toolsets, as opposed to inadvertently creating more complexity by punting simplification as the single/dominant solution, especially where it would cause more negative impacts in the long-term.

Ten key insights include who owns and drives digital transformation in mining businesses; what has been the impact of the 4IR on their people, processes and technologies; how they perceive the evolution of 4IR affecting their business in years to come; and what steps they are taking to transform their businesses in anticipation of those changes.

Insight 1:   The CEO is the primary driver of 4IR and the digital transformation programme in mining businesses, with many respondents describing the CEO as driving a top-down initiative-based approach.

Insight 2:   Champions and innovators are emerging;

Insight 3:   Investments are growing;

Insight 4:    The main reasons for investing in digital;

Insight 5:   Most respondents believed that production, engineering and asset management related investments would unlock the most value.

Insight 6:   Industrial IoT gets the biggest share of the wallet.

Insight 7:   The workforce is changing;

Insight 8:   Organisational culture is keeping up with the times.

Insight 9:   Challenges to overcome - Mining companies stated that the top three challenges in implementing 4IR technologies in their businesses were: data management practices are not yet mature (53%); the workforce lacks the skills necessary to implement 4IR technologies (47%); and data and cybersecurity concerns (32%).

Insight 10:  It is all about the data.

Ian concluded by highlighting that new business models that are emerging. Machine as a service is in use in manufacturing and mining, there is a rise of MAAS in mining in water pumps and airflow already. These models and the enabling 4IR technologies are delivering real KPI uplifts of 10-15% in western European manufacturers. The concluding remark was delivered by MEMSA CEO, Lehlohonolo Molloyi with following key messages: we need to bring all the local OTMs together in one room to strengthen our capacity and capability.

Links to Webinar recording and Ten insights into 4IR report:

Watch the Webinar Recording 

Download the report