Technology, financial services, and healthcare might make more headlines, but mining remains one of the world’s most important industries. Whether with age-old commodities like coal and iron or rare earth used to make advanced smartphones, mining companies supply the inputs needed for much of the world’s economic activity.
Living up to such responsibilities requires having access to specialized equipment of the highest quality. The mining equipment market has evolved significantly over time, and this year will be no exception. A look at five of the most pronounced mining equipment trends for 2020 should make it clear that the industry is by no means standing still.
1. Strong Growth Will Continue
Some people have come to think of the mining as an old-fashioned activity that seems a bit out of place in the modern world. That take never withstands scrutiny, though, since eminently modern products like computers and electric cars rely just as heavily on mining as anything else.
As a result, the mining equipment industry has been growing steadily and will keep doing so throughout 2020. From mining equipment parts manufacturing specialists to the brands they supply, 2020 will be as active and momentous of a year as any of recent times.
2. Automation Will Become Even More Important
Although employment levels have dropped drastically for many types of mining, output has done anything but. Modern mining always relies heavily on pieces of equipment individually capable of work that would formerly have required dozens of human beings.
More and more often, automation is upping the ante further, allowing for previously inconceivable improvements inefficiency. The automated mining equipment market is growing at a particularly fast rate and should sustain that pace through 2020 and beyond.
3. Durability Has Never Been More of a Concern
It has become common to spend a million dollars or more on a single piece of mining equipment. Should a huge earth mover or similarly important piece of equipment break down, an entire operation can be brought to a halt.
Mining companies today expect that their investments will serve them well for years, given appropriate maintenance and responsible operation. Mining equipment manufacturers have been finding ways to enhance durability and reliability for a long time and will double down on their efforts in 2020.
4. The Shift Away From Coal Will Continue
Coal was once, and for a very long time, the most prolifically mined commodity of all. Lessened demand for that fuel has altered the balance, and mining companies worldwide will tilt it further throughout 2020.
That trend will impact the global mining equipment market, as it has been doing for many years. Even though coal-mining activity remains healthy in many regions, other types of extraction are increasingly taking center stage.
5. More Equipment Will be Destined for Remote Mines
Many of the world’s richest and most accessible mines have long since been exhausted. Mining projects have been moving farther afield for many years and will keep doing so throughout 2020.
Equipment that will end up in especially far-flung locations needs to be particularly easy to service and keep running well. In many cases, remote mining operations also include complements of equipment that differ from those typical of more centrally located sites.
Remoteness can make it desirable to process ore locally to avoid having to transport so much mass far away, for instance. With more remote mines coming online, equipment manufacturers will need to account for such realities. That is equally true of the four other trends for 2020 identified earlier.