Mining is one of the few industries that emerged from the worst of COVID-19 pandemic economic crisis in excellent financial and operational shape, PwC India said in a report.
Stating that 2020 was a banner year for the mining sector, the audit firm said that the decisions made today about workplace policies, including the role of digitisation and automation, will shape the future of mining for years to come.
"The price recovery in the second half of the financial year provided a tailwind to the industry to improve on performance and financial parameters. Mining companies in India continued to be resilient and perform their operations, also lending a hand to government efforts in addressing the health pandemic in their regions of operations.
The industry needs to invest for the future by exploring and leveraging operational technology initiatives, enhancing productivity and efficiency, and engaging with stakeholders for shared prosperity," PwC India mining and metals leader Yogesh Daruka said.
Mining companies with higher environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings outperformed the broader market during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, delivering 34 per cent average total shareholder return over the past three years - ten percentage points higher than the general market index, PwC India said.
The figures are from PwC's 18th annual review of the top 40 mining companies - Mine 2021 -which examines the global trends in the mining industry, the audit firm said in a statement.
The demand for the minerals that go into clean energy technologies is expected to increase six-folds in the next 20 years, the audit firm said.
A robust financial outlook provides a unique opportunity to these companies to rethink their existing purpose and strategy, reimagine the future and set out a bold ambition as they reconfigure their business models for long-term sustainable value, Sambitosh Mohapatra, leader - ESG, energy utilities and resources, PwC India, said.
Deploying appropriate technologies to measure and report sustainable initiatives will be key as stakeholders will hold them accountable for preserving and enhancing value, Mohapatra said.
"Now, as the world emerges into an indeterminate COVID-normal phase-manifested by much lower levels of the virus but uncertainty about rates of infection in different parts of the world-miners will be faced with a renewed stakeholder focus with a decidedly different flavour: it's not just how you mine but what you mine, how it is processed and how it is used further down the supply chain," the report said.