Mining is one of the most indispensable integrants of modern society due to the use of mined minerals in almost every consumer product. Minerals, ore, metals, or other goods located deep underground require various techniques for their extraction. Mining is basically the process of extracting essential materials from the earth. It is done to obtain any resource that cannot be grown or fabricated through artificial processes. These mined materials are utilized to construct hospitals and roads, to build houses and automobiles, to even make satellites and computers, to generate electricity and to provide diverse other services. The way the mining industry operates has developed significantly in recent years, and further improvements are afoot as technology advances and are adopted globally.
There are various major trends that are fundamentally transforming the industry into smart mining such as the shift from diesel to electrification. There is digitalization, which is resulting in increased productivity and more sustainable use of resources while lowering input costs. Another one is automation, which will also increase productivity and change the way we work. Uncertainty about how things will develop in the next few years is a concern. However, the future is shaped by the technological advancements and innovations of the present. Mining functions depend significantly on machinery and technology to do everything from creating the mine itself to safely extracting the raw material within. Whether it's gold mining equipment, tools for rock excavation, or various other types of heavy machinery, they fill key roles when mining. For instance, the mechanism used to dig soft materials might not provide enough power to cut through hard rock. Each type of mining equipment has its own set of mining activities. This equipment can vary depending on whether the mining is carried out above or below the surface. Large Mining Trucks, Hydraulic Mining Shovels, Large Dozers, Electric Rope Shovels, Rotary Drill Rigs, Rock Drills, Motor Graders, Large Wheel Loaders, Draglines, Wheel Tractor Scrapers, and Underground Mining Loaders and Trucks are some of the examples of commonly used mining equipment.
According to the research report, "Global Mining Equipment Market Outlook, 2027" published by Bonafide Research, mining equipment market is anticipated to grow with CAGR of more than 4% for 2022-2027. Feeding and conveying equipment are necessary to the mining industry to move and control material flow within a mining and processing operation. To facilitate efficient operation of equipment and determine operating rates and yields, mining equipments are necessary components. The world's largest mining machine is the Bagger 293 bucket wheel excavator. This piece of machinery looks straight out of a Transformers movie. At 3 4.9 feet tall, 738.2 feet long and weighing roughly 31.3 million pounds, the 293 is beyond massive.
The global mining industry is on the cusp of a turnaround, with the Asia-Pacific region leading the way in terms of the number of projects and capital expenditure value for the next few years. According to GlobalData, there are currently 483 projects in the construction and mining sectors. Among them, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to account for the largest share (38%) of the total project count. In terms of investment value, the region is estimated to acquire almost a quarter of the market share. The Asia-Pacific commodities with the greatest spending planned or in progress are coal, gold, copper, and iron ore, which collectively have 240 projects under construction. In addition to that, Asia-Pacific is the largest coal mining market with more than 75% production. China, Australia, and India are among the global leaders in coal production. Hence, this requires high mining activities across the region with efficient mining equipment. With high investments by the governments in metal expeditions, developing countries across the region are expected to be the hub for many rare minerals. Australia is expected to be a leader in global mining innovation as 60% of the mining software is being produced in this country. The market size in the region is attributed to the huge presence of metal, mineral, and coal mines, rising government initiatives and policies towards exploration of new mines and modernization of existing mines.
China is the leading producer of coal, steel, aluminum, rare earth metals, lead, zinc, tin, magnesium, tungsten, and other metallic minerals. Mining output in China was calculated to increase by 2.42% on average from 2013 to 2022, reaching an all-time high of 17.50% in January 2021. Also, until the end of 2019, a total of 173 types of minerals, including 13 (energy materials), 59 (metals), 95 (non-metallic minerals) and six types of water and gases, have been discovered in China. In addition to that, the Mineral Resource Law is the national law governing the prospection and extraction of valuable components from mines in China. In addition to that, in 2020, the Indian government proposed structural reforms in the mining sector, including legal regulations. These changes aim to increase the participation of the private sector in mineral exploration, the removal of captive and non-captive mines, and the development of a national mineral index. On the other hand, the Australian government invested over USD 4 million in eight projects related to mining equipment and the service sector in 2019.
According to the report, based on category market is segmented into crushing, pulverizing and screening machinery, mineral processing machinery, surface mining machinery and underground mining machinery. The underground mining machinery segment is leading the market with more than 35% of value market share, followed by the surface mining machinery. Equipment used in this category includes mining loaders, locomotives, personal carriers, utility vehicles, ore transporters, and self-propelled or stationary vehicles. Underground mining has become a viable option for autonomous and electrified vehicles in the North American region. On the other hand, the mineral processing category is rising with a higher amount of CAGR during the forecast period.
Further, North America produces a larger portion of the world’s coal, iron ore, copper, bauxite, natural gas, petroleum, mercury, nickel, silver, and potash. In 2020, there were more than 12700 active miles in the United States of America alone. On the other hand, battery-electric mine trucks are being introduced by major market players in North America. This technology is in an emerging phase, which will boost the market growth for mining equipment across the region. Due to the implementation of stringent emission regulations by many governments across the region, mining equipment manufacturers are aiming to invest more to develop fuel-efficient, low-emission, and eco-friendly equipment. For instance, in 2019, Caterpillar Inc. launched the R2900 underground loader that follows the government norms. These significant enhancements in efficiency, high investments by OEMs and demands for sustainable products will augment the market growth for mining equipment in North America. Technological advancements and rising demand for oil sands, coal, and gas are expected to drive the market in the USA. For instance, according to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the USA produced more than 755 Million short tons of coal (majorly from surface mines). Also, in 2020, there were more than 1,000 active coal mines in the USA. However, the mining sector in Canada is one of the largest industries in the globe. Canada produces more than 60 metals and minerals.
The European mining industry is among the continent's most modern and innovative industrial sectors. Discovering new deposits, mining, and ore dressing, all require major emphasis on research and development procedures. In Europe, mining exploration, extraction, and beneficiation are supported by various high-level enhanced technologies and equipments. In addition to that, Europe is rich in natural resources. Mines are active in countries such as Austria, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Russia, among others. In addition to that, Finland, Sweden, Bulgaria, and Spain all have gold mines. Finland and Sweden are the top two European gold producers. On the other hand, Tara in Ireland is Europe’s largest zinc mine, which is also one of the largest in global comparison. By utilizing effective equipment, Europe mines more than 42 diverse metals and minerals, including ornamental stones, sand, and gravel. The situation varies with geography, but resources are plentiful in Europe, which will boost the demand for enhanced mining equipment across the region. Some of the largest surface mining projects across the region include Belchatow mine, Hambach mine, Aitik mine, Garzweiler mine, Maritsa east mine, Ptolemais south field mine, Welzow-sud mine, Inden mine, etc.
Among the European region, Russia is anticipated to lead the market by 2027. Russia has 22 coal basins with 114 coal deposits scattered across the country. Currently, Russia has more than 250 operating coal mines, including 104 underground mines and 137 open-pit mines. In addition to that, Russia has the world’s second-largest coal and metal reserves, including gold, silver, platinum, nickel, and diamonds. As a business platform, Russia holds the internationally recognized trade-show "MiningWorld Russia" that serves the mining and mineral extraction industry. This exhibition connects equipment and technology manufacturers with buyers to enhance the performance of the overall industry.
Since the earlier time period, South America has seen significant activity in the mining sector. According to the World Mining Data 2019, 6.6% of total global mining production originated from South America in that year. During the period 2000–2017, the production increased by 24.3% in the South American market. Furthermore, South America continues to be an important jurisdiction for mining investments. Despite the downturn and difficulties faced by individual countries as well as the whole region, South America remains attractive for investors. In South America, developing countries such as Chile, Peru, Brazil, and Argentina account for 85% of mineral and metal exports. Various elements such as beryllium, niobium, tantalum, thorium, lithium, mica, and other rare earth metals are majorly extracted in South America. Copper, iron ore, gold, and silver are likely to account for the majority of extracted metals. Among various developing countries, Chile is the world’s leading exporter of copper, followed by Peru. Brazil accounts for the third position as the global producer of iron ore. In addition to that, the South American region is responsible for more than half of the global silver production. South America has more than 13200 mines that are identified and in operation. During 2013, South America produced nearly 8% of the global demand for mining machinery, and this penetration is expected to increase in the next few years. The introduction of autonomous haulage systems across the region drives the market growth. Hitachi Construction Machinery is conducting development and tests for next-generation (unmanned and autonomous) mining equipment. The concentrated aim of this system is to achieve a higher level of safety and productivity by improving efficiency and management of the mining operations.
In the Middle East and Africa region, the future of the mining industry is projected to be efficient and effective. Much of the land in the Middle East has not been explored with modern techniques and equipment. However, Africa is blessed with a rich bounty of natural resources. In Africa, over 30% of the world’s global mineral reserves have been found. However, less than 5% of the total global mineral exploration and extraction budget is invested in the continent's economy. Thus, the potential for the expansion of the mining industry across the Middle East and Africa region is immense. The Gulf Cooperation Council countries are aiming to develop a unified regulatory system in a number of areas, including mining and mining equipment. According to the research, there are more than 1500 mineral facilities present in the Middle East and Africa region. These facilities include mines, plants, mils, and refineries for aluminum, cement, coal, copper, diamond, gold, iron, steel, nickel, platinum-group metals, salt, and silver, etc. In addition to that, petroleum and coal are among the most abundant materials across the region. Many governments and international exploration companies have continued to explore across the region for such valuable minerals.
Among the many developing countries, Saudi Arabia is anticipated to dominate the market by 2027. Currently, over 48 minerals have been identified across Saudi Arabia, with at least 15 industrial minerals that can become commercially viable options. The Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resources (DMMR) has registered more than 1270 sites for precious metals and more than 1170 sites for non-precious metals. According to the research, more than 780 mining companies are listed as being present in Saudi Arabia. In addition to that, the Saudi Arabian government is aiming to increase investments in mining processes, the manufacture of mining equipment and the mineral production sectors.
Based on the application, the North American market is segmented into three types: mineral mining, metal mining, and coal mining. Due to increasing demand for essential components by various industries, mineral mining and metal mining are anticipated to acquire more than 80% of the total market by 2027. The global mining equipment market is segregated into three types of power output, which are: less than 500 HP, 500-2000 HP, and more than 2000 HP. Among these types, the 500–2000 HP segment is projected to lead the market, followed by the less than 500 HP power output.
Caterpillar Inc. (US), Komatsu Ltd. (Japan), Sandvik AB (Sweden), Epiroc AB (Sweden) and Doosan Corporation (South Korea) are some of the major market players in global mining equipment market. These companies developed new products; adopted expansion strategies; undertook agreements, partnerships, and supply orders; and used acquisitions to gain traction in the mining machinery market. Some of the developments are listed below:
• Sandvik AB has various business segments that include Mining, Engineering, Energy, Automotive, Construction, Aerospace, and Other (Sandvik Drilling and Completions). Mining equipment is offered by the Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology business unit. The company offers various products and services for surface and underground mining. Its product portfolio includes underground drill rigs and bolters, surface drill rigs, crushers, trucks, and rock tools. In September 2020, Sandvik revealed its AutoMine Concept vehicle which is based on the latest technologies and equipped with completely new sensing capabilities and artificial intelligence to enhance mining operations. The AutoMine Concept perceives its surroundings and environment in 3D and reacts to it in real-time.
• Komatsu Ltd. has a global presence and manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, utilities, forest machines, and industrial machinery. It operates in two major business segments, namely, Construction, Mining, & Utility Equipment and Industrial Machinery & Others. Its heavy construction equipment business falls under the Construction, Mining & Utility Equipment segment. In July 2020, Komatsu announced plans to rebrand its underground hard rock equipment, surface wheel loaders, and new range of blasthole drills to reflect the company’s united focus on growth in these areas. It introduced a few products during its rebranding. The first rebranded product, the Komatsu ZT44 track drill, was launched at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 in Las Vegas in March 2020. Rebranding as Komatsu, all surface wheel loaders, new blasthole drills, and all underground hard rock equipment, expands the Komatsu brand in mining.
• Caterpillar Inc. designs, manufactures, markets, and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. The company manages its heavy mining equipment business through its Resource Industries business segment. Resource Industries also develops and sells technology products and services to provide customers fleet management systems, equipment management analytics, and autonomous machine capabilities. In May 2020, Caterpillar added a new platform, MineStar Edge, to augment the Cat MineStar Solutions suite of technologies. MineStar Edge offers an operational ecosystem for mining companies. Rather than storing data in individual silos, Edge enables managers to see how activities early in the process impact the value chain. MineStar Edge also leverages cloud computing and recent technology advancements such as data fusion, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. It is expected to continue to grow as it collects data, identifies patterns, and learns to make decisions. Also, In September 2020, the new Cat 963 crawler loader replaced the 963K loader. It is a versatile machine that can dig, load, carry, and fill. It provides up to 10% higher fuel efficiency, productivity, and cab and controllability enhancements. The 963 meets US EPA Tier 4 Final/EU Stage V emission standards. It has 202 HP (151 kW) power and an operating weight of 44,881 lbs (20 358 kg).
• Epiroc AB group’s business is divided into two segments, namely, Equipment & Service and Tools & Attachments. The Equipment & Service segment has further five divisions namely, Drilling Solutions, Underground Rock Excavation, Surface and Exploration Drilling, Mining and Rock Excavation Service, and Rocktec. In May 2020, Epiroc received an order from Codelco for the supply of underground loaders, face drill rigs, rock bolting rigs, and mine trucks, as well as several years of technical support and training, for use at the Chuquicamata underground mine project in Chile. The order is valued at more than USD 20 million and was booked in April 2020. The company is transforming the century-old Chuquicamata copper and gold mine from being the world’s largest open-pit mine into a high -technological underground operation. According to Codelco, the transformation is expected to extend the useful life of the mine by 40 years
• Doosan has a presence in 38 countries across Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. It operates through the following business divisions, namely, Electro-Materials BG, Mottrol BG, Industrial Vehicle BG, Doosan Digital Innovation BG, DHC, DI, DEC, and Others. Mining equipment is offered by DI (Doosan Infracore). It offers wheeled excavators, wheeled loaders, articulated dump trucks, mini excavators, and crawler excavators. The company also focuses on future mining concepts. Doosan Infracore implements its Concept-X project at construction and mining sites by integrating technologies related to ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and AI (Artificial Intelligence).