Metals & Mining Insights

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.
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

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.

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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.
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?
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

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.
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.
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.
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

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.
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

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.
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.
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

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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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