Our Insights


Digging deeper: Trends in underground hard-rock mining for gold and base metals

– While underground mining methods show higher cost than open pit, their complexity almost always means that there is opportunity in both productivity and cost improvement.

Refractory gold ores: Challenges and opportunities for a key source of growth

– High-grade refractory gold reserves offer the potential for lower costs per ounce despite higher capital and operational costs.... A focus on three action areas can help maximize the opportunity.

The future of the European steel industry

– A road map toward economic and environmental sustainability

The right tools for every job: Lean and agile in maintenance

– Why tomorrow’s maintenance function will combine the strengths of lean and agile organizations.

The potential of advanced process controls in energy and materials

– Optimizing advanced process controls can create significant value for critical industrial processes. Maximizing that value requires... a comprehensive approach across people, processes, and technologies.

Optimizing water treatment with online sensing and advanced analytics

– Overlaying real-time advanced analytics on data from online sensing can help to stabilize operations and increase capacity in... water-treatment facilities.

Remote operating centers in mining: Unlocking their full potential

– As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates innovative working practices, mining companies are reimagining their operating models to... provide more productive and enjoyable remote work locations for employees.

The mine-to-market value chain: A hidden gem

– Enhancing end-to-end performance of the mine-to-market value chain can be a major source of value creation—yet fragmented... responsibilities often cause companies to lose sight of the big picture.

COVID-19’s impact on the global gold industry: Implications for the next normal and beyond

– The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the gold-mining industry and its workers. Production and costs could hinder what should be... near-record profits, and how each company reacts will determine its long-term success.

Buckets of innovation: How digital has transformed a mining company in Indonesia

– Hanifa Indradjaya, the president director of PT Petrosea, discusses how digital can drive sustainability, efficiency, and operational... excellence.

How clean can the nickel industry become?

– Global demand for Class 1 nickel could skyrocket, especially for use in electric vehicles. Can the industry meet these needs—and... sustainability goals?

Desalination is not the only answer to Chile’s water problems

– Understand the implications for copper mines in the region.

Engaging employees to use analytics: How mining companies solve the adoption challenge

– Advanced analytics can drive value only if employees use them to make decisions. But adoption is often the biggest stumbling block... in analytics initiatives. Here’s how to get it right.

MineLens survey confirms the significant impact of COVID-19 on mining operations

– New findings from a survey of mining operators offer an early indication of how the pandemic is reshaping the industry’s next... normal.

Through-cycle investment in mining

– Mining is notoriously cyclical, with volatile equity prices and investment patterns as a result. As the COVID-19 crisis affects... the medium-term pricing outlook in many commodities and puts pressure on planned investments, mining CFOs have a unique opportunity (and imperative) to review their capital-expansion strategies.

How artificial intelligence can improve resilience in mineral processing during uncertain times

– Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, mineral-processing companies were grappling with profound uncertainty. Those that took steps... to harness the power of AI improved agility and operational resilience.

Mining companies’ response to coronavirus

– Mining companies enduring the first wave of COVID-19 effects on their operating models need to think about responding across five... horizons.

How procurement leaders can bring metals and mining up to speed

– Procurement is critical to manage the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis. Assertive and resourceful leaders can help mining companies... address immediate imperatives and prepare for a quick recovery.

Has global mining productivity reversed course?

– New analysis of the Mining Productivity Index shows a gradual increase in mining productivity since 2013.
Impact Story

Inside a mining company’s AI transformation

– How copper-mining giant Freeport-McMoRan unlocked next-level performance with help from McKinsey data scientists and agile coaches.

Auctioning of Indian mining leases—the next disrupting factor in the iron ore market?

– A closer look at the lease auctioning process in India suggests a potential shift in the country's iron ore trade position.

Has Southeast Asia taken a firm grip on the nickel value chain?

– A closer look at the future of the nickel market considers the role of ore exports from Southeast Asia.

Optimizing mining feasibility studies: The $100 billion opportunity

– With mining and metals projects becoming increasingly complex, more rigorous feasibility studies help prevent cost and schedule... overruns, and maximize value.

Arsenic: Will it take the shine off the red metal?

– With environmental regulations becoming increasingly stringent, arsenic looks set to pile ever more pressure on copper producers.

How should steelmakers adapt at the dawn of the EAF mini-mill era in China?

– Three areas deserve executives’ attention to capture the benefits from China’s EAF transition.

Can the gold industry return to the golden age?

– It’s time to dig for a solution to the gold mining reserve crisis.

Behind the mining productivity upswing: Technology-enabled transformation

– Despite great promise in digital advancements, many companies are struggling to embrace tech-enabled transformation. Mining players... need to rev three engines to tap into the true potential.

Avoiding mistakes of the past: A CEO’s checklist in a commodity upswing

– Having recovered from a downturn, miners are ready to build again. These nine core actions can improve the industry’s poor... project-delivery track record.

The missing link in mining-company productivity: People

– To address its productivity challenge, the mining industry has invested heavily in technology. New evidence shows that it also... needs to pay more attention to its people.

Lithium and cobalt: A tale of two commodities

– What does the rise of electric vehicles mean for two critical raw materials that go into their batteries—and for the players... in this ecosystem?

Productivity across the global mining sector is starting to improve

– Our latest data show an upward trend—from a low base.

The future of nickel: A class act

– The global nickel market is entering a period of flux as new applications drive changes in demand. We are seeing the potential... emergence of two distinct commodity markets: one focused on nickel used in rechargeable batteries, which will be driven by the rapid adoption of electric vehicles; the other used in traditional stainless steel, dominated by ferro-nickel and NPI products. This change presents a set of strategic opportunities and threats which will require mining companies, battery manufacturers and car OEMs to re-evaluate their market strategies.
Report - McKinsey Global Institute

How technology is reshaping supply and demand for natural resources

– The ways we consume energy and produce commodities are changing. This transformation could benefit the global economy, but resource... producers will have to adapt to stay competitive.