Mining equipment manufacturers in Germany have bucked the financial and sovereign debt crisis, posting a 20% increase in sales for 2012. This follows a 27% record sales growth in 2011. Export sales have also risen by 21% to be worth EUR5.33 billion, despite an almost 50% drop in sales to China.

The German Engineering Federation’s (VDMA) Mining Equipment branch says the high quality of products and rise in demand for raw materials has helped to buoy the sector. “Despite industry structure with many small and medium-sized companies, the sector has succeeded in rising up to the challenges associated with exports. Since 2007 the turnover of the approximately 130 German-based mining equipment manufacturers has risen by an average of 13% annually,” says VDMA mining equipment federation chairman Paul Rheinländer. However, he says the 2013 outlook is more uncertain.

“Both private and institutional investors are acting more cautiously. Some projects are being put on hold. Nevertheless, I assume the sector will at least retain its turnover and may even increase it. In the medium and long term the sector is poised for further growth.”

Manufacturers are also looking at 2013 with optimism despite the German government’s decision to phase out domestic hard coal mining. Paul Rheinländer says Germany will be exclusively dependent on imported coal after the closure of the three last mines. “But some day mining hard coal will pay off again, but then substantial efforts would have to be undertaken to exploit those domestic resources again.”

The VDMA says the raw material partnerships concluded with Mongolia and Kazakhstan will make an important contribution to domestic raw material supply in the medium and long term and also positively impact sales for the industry. Mongolia is among the world’s richest countries in raw materials, promising excellent business opportunities for German manufacturers in the medium and long haul.

The federation is sponsoring the capital goods trade fair ‘Future Mongolia’ in Ulaanbaatar in June which it says will provide an outstanding platform for raising awareness for the industry’s companies and products in the region.

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