Mincom, now a part of ABB and a leading global provider of software and services for asset-intensive industries, has released findings from its second-annual study into the views of key stakeholders in mining. The Mincom Mining Executive Insights: 2011 survey has revealed the top challenge this year among senior mining executives is optimising production effectiveness, pushing last year’s primary concern – ensuring workplace safety – into second position. “Based on this year’s research, we find the overall outlook for the mining industry is conservative, but increasingly positive,” said Jennifer Tejada, Executive VP and Chief Strategy Officer, Mincom. “One of the recurring themes we also uncovered is the fundamental importance of cost control, predictable performance and growth achieved by the standardization of processes and the adoption of best practices.” The 2011 Mincom study surveyed high-level executives at 256 mining companies in North America, Latin America and the Asia Pacific region to investigate their most pressing concerns, and where they see opportunities for growth. When asked to rank their top challenges by level of urgency, respondents replied as follows:• Optimizing/maximizing production effectiveness (73%)• Ensuring workforce safety (53%)• Recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce (47%)• Managing capital projects (33%)• Ensuring different departments work together (33%)• Ensuring equipment operates reliably and predictably (32%)”Overall, the attitude of this year’s respondents is positive, with 69% expressing optimism about their general business outlook,” said Tejada. “Not surprisingly, given the growing global demand for mining products and high commodity prices, maximising production is by far the number-one priority for global mining executives. We see this trend among many of Mincom’s mining customers as they work to achieve productivity improvements, reduce the impact of production bottlenecks, and improve integration of processes across the mining value chain.”When asked to rank their top three obstacles to achieving organic growth, this year’s respondents identified the following:• Complying with government regulations (40%)• Delays in getting new mines operational (32%)• Difficulty in standardizing business processes (22%)• Inability to move quickly enough to exploit commodity prices (21%)• Inability to meet planned production goals (21%)“Mining companies face additional regulatory scrutiny as they look to develop new sites and increase production at existing ones, leading this year’s respondents to once again identify regulatory compliance as their primary obstacle to organic growth,” said Tejada. “We also noted the number of executives who identified difficulty in standardising business processes as their primary growth obstacle has nearly doubled from last year. This spike may indicate a paradigm shift taking place within the industry, in which more companies view the ability to operate predictably across all enterprise operations as a principal driver of value.”The study also revealed that lessons learned from the economic downturn still predominate, with 65% of respondents adopting aggressive cost-control strategies to maintain or improve profitability. Another 43% are adopting best-practice work and asset management frameworks for critical production assets, indicating a continued focus on streamlining internal processes to achieve cost savings and efficiencies.For complete survey results and additional analysis, visit http://www.mincom.com/mining-survey-whitepaper. Mincom will also host a Webinar presenting a deeper analysis of the report’s findings. To register, please see http://www.mincom.com/mining-survey-webinar.