Metals & Mining Insights

Commentary

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.
Article

The DRI dilemma: Could raw material shortages hinder the steel industry’s green transition?

– Raw-material shortages have the potential to disrupt the market for direct reduced iron, but industry participants are already... planning to implement new strategies.
Article

Pressure to decarbonize: Drivers of mine-side emissions

– As stakeholders pressure mining companies to reduce emissions, operations must monitor their environmental impact and ultimately... move toward zero-carbon mining.
Article

Creating the zero-carbon mine

– Despite a daunting timeline, zero-carbon mines are within reach if the right solutions are implemented.

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More Insights

Commentary

Tackling the challenge of decarbonizing steelmaking

– Plans put in place now may lead to significant emissions reductions.
Article

Succeeding in the AI supply-chain revolution

– New technology solutions could be transformative—but only if executives properly prepare their organizations.
Article

Streaming and royalties in mining: Let the music play on

– Renewed growth sentiment among miners’ management teams, combined with the rise of streaming-and-royalty financing over... the past ten years, suggests that this particular type of alternative financing could be set for significant expansion over the next decade.
Article

A smarter way to digitize maintenance and reliability

– In heavy-equipment maintenance, digital and analytics tools are struggling to live up to their promise. Here’s how to help... them pull their weight.
Commentary

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.
Report

The future of the European steel industry

– A road map toward economic and environmental sustainability
Impact Story

How a steel plant in India tapped the value of data—and won global acclaim

– By upskilling employees and innovating with analytics, Tata Steel’s plant in Kalinganagar, India, achieved performance gains... that earned it recognition as a leading digital facility by the World Economic Forum.
Article

Gold industry M&A: Riding the new wave buoyed by lessons from the past

– While M&A trends may be poised to accelerate, gold industry players will need to keep past lessons in mind or else risk repeating... previous mistakes.
Article

Alternative financing in mining

– Many mining companies struggle to secure financing for capital-expansion programs. Miners must pull the full range of financial... levers to see a potential of some $800 billion over the next ten years.
Interview

Breathing new life into a struggling giant: An interview with Krakatau Steel’s Silmy Karim

– A strategic turnaround is helping Indonesia’s largest state-owned enterprise to stem eight years of losses, transform company... culture, and embrace a digital future.
Article

Consolidating European steel: Strategic responses to industry challenges

– In light of the many structural and crisis-related challenges Europe’s steel manufacturers face, pursuing M&A strategies... will open up new opportunities.
Commentary

How digital and analytics can unlock full potential in steel

– Our recent survey of 30 leading global metals companies indicates there are five main factors to successfully scale digital and... analytics.
Article

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.
Article

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.
Article

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.
Article

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.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

How an Australian resources company makes ESG a priority

– Karen Wood, chair of South32, talks about what makes the company’s purpose and strategy resilient in unpredictable times.
Article

Case study: Building a customer-centric B2B organization

– A Chinese steel manufacturer systematically transformed its operations to be customer-centric—and in the process, improved... its bottom line.
Article

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.
Commentary

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.
Interview

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.
Commentary

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?
Commentary

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

– Understand the implications for copper mines in the region.
Article

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.
Commentary

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.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

Prioritize people in times of crisis: An interview with the CEO of BHP

– Mike Henry explains the importance of social value in decision making and why relationships lie at the heart of business resilience.
Article

Lessons from the past: Informing the mining industry’s trajectory to the next normal

– What can previous crisis periods teach us about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mining sector, and what can we expect... going forward?
Article

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.
Article

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.
Article

Decarbonization challenge for steel

– Steel players across the globe, and especially in Europe, are increasingly facing a decarbonization challenge.
Commentary

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.
Article

A safer, smarter future: Working remotely in energy and materials

– COVID-19 is drastically changing the way energy and materials operations work. Learning from industry best practices can help... remote hybrid teams adapt to the next normal.
Article

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.
Commentary

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.
Article

Climate risk and decarbonization: What every mining CEO needs to know

– Building a climate strategy won’t be quick or easy—but waiting is not an option.
Podcast

Gold in an era of drones, deep mines, and dedollarization

– While gold does not tarnish or decay, the industry that mines, refines, and fashions the yellow metal is far less stable.
Commentary

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.
Article

Managing industrials’ commodity-price risk

– Industrial companies can hedge an ever-increasing number of commodities, but effective hedging requires a comprehensive approach.
Article

Unlocking the full power of automation in industrials

– The automation of nonphysical core processes is an often-overlooked source of value in industrials.
Commentary

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.
Commentary

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.
Report

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.
Report

Can the gold industry return to the golden age?

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

Critical infrastructure companies and the global cybersecurity threat

– How the energy, mining, and materials industries can meet the unique challenges of protecting themselves in a digital world.
Report

Putting the shine back into South African mining: A path to competitiveness and growth

– The industry can achieve global cost competitiveness if the private and public sectors take concerted action.
Article

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.
Article

Building a great data platform

– Five insights into building a great data platform can help energy, chemical, utility, and basic-materials companies get it right.
Article

How industry can move toward a low-carbon future

– Cutting industry’s carbon emissions will require significant investment and coordinated effort among businesses, governments,... and other stakeholders.
Report

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?
Article

Productivity across the global mining sector is starting to improve

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

Unlocking the digital opportunity in metals

– Driving a full digital transformation of a metal company is a complex undertaking. To succeed, companies need to develop a scalable... model, with a set of standards in place covering roles, tools, and working methods.
Article

Small doesn’t mean unprofitable: Unlocking new value from small-to-medium metal and mining projects

– Managing smaller projects with increased rigor and a through-cycle mentality can help companies to capture significant untapped... value.
Report

The current capacity shake-up in steel and how the industry is adapting

– The early years of the new millennium were a profitable period for steelmakers, largely driven by the surging Chinese economy.... Now, with China’s growth slowing, a new reality has set in.
Report

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.
Article

How benchmarking can improve cost competitiveness in steel

– Many debate the relevance of benchmarking in the steel industry. But disciplined application has helped some producers identify... improvements of up to 10 percent of the cost base.
Article

How 3-D printing will transform the metals industry

– The role of 3-D printing in today’s metal market is quite small. But additive manufacturing could offer big benefits if... several challenges are overcome.
Podcast

Mining for growth

– Mining companies are heading to the ends of the earth to meet demand.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Pushing manufacturing productivity to the max

– Advanced analytics and lower-cost computing give companies a powerful tool for managing profitability on an hourly basis.
Interview

Mining for leadership with lean management

– Three executives at one of the world’s most unusual mining operations describe how even in a highly unpredictable context,... lean management improves not just productivity, but also how people lead.
Report

The growing importance of steel scrap in China

– Will the industry develop rapidly? It largely depends on how fast the economics, government policies, and technology evolve.
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.
Article

Getting big mining projects right: Lessons from (and for) the industry

– Overruns and delays are common in big mining projects. Intelligent interventions can improve the odds of success—particularly... on distressed projects.
Article

Productivity at the mine face: Pointing the way forward

– Many mine operators could learn from industry leaders that are pursuing productivity-enhancing approaches.
Interview - McKinsey Quarterly

How a steel company embraced digital disruption

– Gisbert Rühl, CEO of German metals company Klöckner, embedded himself in Berlin’s start-up scene, creating two... platforms to overhaul the organization’s supply chain and make steel prices more transparent.

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