The introduction of cloud computing platforms and associated technologies have provided junior mining companies with opportunities to significantly improve their operations and gain access to the latest innovations at a lucrative price-point.

The continued pressure on larger mining companies has resulted in the acquisition of less-profitable mines by junior mining companies and prohibitively high capital expenditure associated with mining start-up costs has put IT infrastructure out of reach of many junior mining companies.

The South African government is placing its support behind funding the junior mining industry, and with major companies divesting some of their assets, smaller companies have been able to acquire and operate assets that were previously beyond their reach.

According to the Minerals Council of South Africa, the average market capitalisation of a major mining company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange is R24-billion.

In South Africa, the junior – or emerging – mining industry encapsulates micro to medium-size mining companies generating between R30-million to R8-billion in annual turnover.

Equipping junior mining

In light of external market conditions over which mining companies have no control, mining companies need to ensure they have clear sight over what the market conditions are and what the potential impact on their business is.

To do this, junior mining companies need to integrate IT and operational technology (OT) to equip the C-suite with full visibility over mining operations, for example by providing real-time visibility over the health of certain assets to allow for predictive maintenance, minimising downtime and improving cost-efficiency.

For CFOs, the challenge often rests with gaining real-time visibility over the profitability of the company.

Financial planning processes traditionally took 7-8 months, which meant that by the time the plan is implemented, parts of it are already outdated.

Advanced technology tools integrated to an in-memory computing platform such as SAP S/4HANA can reduce this planning cycle to 2-3 days.

Solutions such as SAP Cloud for junior mining provide instant value and continuous innovation capabilities.

The powerful digital platform integrates with advanced new technologies such as machine learning and predictive capabilities to accelerate problem-solving and improve the efficiency of business processes.

And with full visibility of profitability and cash flow, real-time transparency and support for local country tax and regulations built on global best practices, junior mining companies can safely focus on their core business.

Cloud is a game-changer for these companies: by gaining access to the latest technology through cost-effective Software-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service models, junior mining companies gain the agility they need to navigate current market conditions and gain a strong platform for future innovation.