After a successful recovery phase, which ended in 2019 with sales of just under € 5 billion, the COVID-19 crisis has hit not only German mining suppliers, but the entire mechanical engineering industry and the economy in general. Also, our worldwide customers are of course affected. In 2019, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for almost a quarter (24.47 per cent) of all exports of our industry. This means export earnings of € 465 million – compared to the total export sum of € 1.9 billion. For Q1/2020 the preliminary figures are not overwhelming.

Man ImageNevertheless Asia-Pacific is a strong region with challenging markets: China as the world’s largest coal producer. India with Coal India Ltd. as the world’s biggest coal mining company and with large deposits of raw materials, many of them still untapped. Australia with its enormous exports of coal and iron ore to Asia. And in between Indonesia or the central Asian countries like Mongolia or Kazakhstan, both large producers of raw materials, but with challenging business conditions.

The good reputation of German mining equipment is based both on the long tradition of national mining and on Germany’s reputation as a supplier of technology. Maintaining this reputation means always being at the forefront of development.

The competitive situation in which we operate is increasingly influenced by social trends. At present, many factors are gaining new importance, especially environmental aspects or the “license to operate” issued by civil society. Ultimately, however, investors want cost effectiveness of their processes, they want to see returns and the figures must be right. In this mixture the most important factor for us is reliable, efficient and safe technology.

In order to be able to guarantee this to our customers, digital technology is increasingly being used. The intelligent combination of mechanics, electronics and communication technology is the key to efficient, resource-saving and environmentally safe raw material production. Within the VDMA Mining Association, the member companies are working on solutions for the digitalized mine of the future. To this end, they cooperate with other companies organized in the VDMA, for example from the software and automation industry, which for their part have often already developed digitally supported new solutions in cooperation with customers. This cooperation demonstrates the capabilities of the VDMA as the largest industrial network in Europe and its more than 3,300 members.

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Enjoy reading and best wishes!

Klaus Stöckmann

Deputy Managing Director

VDMA Mining