Consulting firm Deloitte has published what it says will be the top-10 global trends in the mining industry this year.
The annual report called Tracking the Trends was compiled after about 70 mining professionals were interviewed about issues impacting the industry.
Phil Hopwood, Deloitte's global mining leader and one of the authors of the report, says digitization will have one of the biggest impacts on mining around the world in 2017.
That is where companies integrate technology into all aspects of their existing operating systems.
"Connecting everything to the internet. Its called Internet of Things (IoT)," says Hopwood.
The technology allows companies to extract new data about their resources that they haven't had before.
"They actually know in real time how their operations are actually performing."
The problem with digitization, according to Hopwood, is that it puts mining companies and their mines at greater risk for cyber attacks or threats.
Hopwood says cybersecurity is another trend the report predicts for 2017.
Among the other top trends the report lists are: collaboration between companies and governments, operating in an ecosystem, and creating healthy and inclusive workforces.
Hopwood says the annual report is used by mining companies to determine where the market is heading and it helps them plan ahead to determine where their efforts should be focused.
"Our clients tend to use this report as a means to kind of look ahead and perhaps analyze where they might be willing to focus some of their thinking, some of their strategies, going ahead in the next few years," says Hopwood.
The report looks at global trends and is not broken down by regions.
However, Hopwood says the trends and issues are relevant to, and have impacted the mining industry in Sudbury, Ontario.
He explains that lower prices for base metals over the past few years meant for some hard times for the mining industry in Sudbury, where nickel and copper are a major commodity.
Those numbers have improved recently helping to turn the industry around.
"So perhaps we're seeing a bit more optimism in Sudbury."