A new year often sparks a new round of trendspotting for the year to come, even in the mining industry. The Big Four auditing firms have all chimed in with their predictions for mining in 2015. While Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG each have their own thoughts on the state of the industry, they tend to agree on one key point — innovation is the name of the game this year.

Conceptual image depicting optimism.

Cautious optimism still runs through the industry as the US and European economies trudge back to normal and development in the BRIC countries appears positive, if uncertain. With that attitude in mind, Deloitte and PwC have both suggested that 2015 is a year to pursue new tactics to accelerate mining out of the current downturn."Although miners are working to control expenses, declining grades will put continual pressure on costs," says Julian Dolby, Consulting Mining Leader for Deloitte Australia, in Deloitte's Tracking the trends 2015. "To regain momentum and lay a strong foundation for the next mining cycle, companies need to accelerate their efficiency programs and invest more significantly in innovation."While cutting costs and improving ore grades has worked in the past, these measures are no longer enough. Companies seeking different outcomes need different approaches, and fortune favours the bold. Mines can't just stay the course this year; they need to harness technology in the name of full operational excellence. In fact, many mines are already seeing the benefits of bleeding-edge solutions such as scenario simulation, driverless trucks, and Big Data analytics suites. This idea — innovation that leads to operational excellence — dovetails with Wenco's approach in 2015. Our fleet management systems, machine guidance tools, and other solutions have helped your in-pit operations for more than 25 years. But, we understand that mining is more than just the haul cycle, so we're branching out with solutions for the full mining value chain — from pit to port. We started last year, adding our new Drill Navigation system that helps the early stages of your operation get started right. In the coming year, you'll see even more advancements — including some solutions we've already talked about.The Big Four know the score. With so many factors affecting the industry — geopolitical situations that change daily, volatile commodity markets, fickle shareholders, government policies that can turn on a dime — they know you can't trust the status quo. That's why they see innovation as a driving trend in 2015. Using new technologies is the industry's best bet for staying flexible now, staying sustainable in the future, and ending this downturn as soon as possible.