German mining equipment manufacturers set for record sales.German mining equipment manufacturers expect a sales of almost EUR 5 billion, representing a 32 per cent sales growth for 2011. In the words of Dr Paul Rheinlaender, chairman of the VDMA Mining Equipment Association, this represents a new sales record, meaning that his sector was among those few in Germany, showing uninterrupted growth throughout the entire crisis.Speaking at the annual press conference of the association at Zeche Zollverein in Essen, Dr Rheinlaender quoted increasing global demand for commodities despite the financial crisis. Supplier countries bring up extraction quotas, for which they primarily need machinery to extend the existing or open up new mines. This even applies to Germany. Dr Rheinlaender continued by saying that the rising commodity prices strengthened the attraction of mining operations, even in Germany. He mentioned Wismut as one example, where a new mine was opened up for the extraction of heavy spar, as well as plans in hand for a major copper ore mine in Lusatia. Mining operations in the latter are slated to begin in two or three years. Mining equipment manufacturers also watch with interest plans by RAG to employ shafts, drift mines as well as the sites of former hard coal mines to build environment-friendly pump storage power stations. Dr Rheinlaender emphasised that the sector he represents is well prepared to support such schemes with technology and specific knowhow. He felt, however, that there were only comparatively small numbers of mines offering the geological conditions needed for such projects. In addition, clarification would still be required as to whether necessary economic conditions could be met.Brisk business: Mining equipment manufacturers owe their sales record - results are up by 32 per cent, mainly due to excellent foreign business. Exports rose by 36 per cent to reach almost EUR 4.6 billion, while domestic business went up by 4 per cent to EUR 480 million. As Dr Rheinlaender pointed out, it was getting ever more difficult to launch new mining projects in Germany as well as quarries. A society that stood for progress should also be prepared to cope with any resultant burdens, "There is no other way, unfortunately," said Dr. Rheinlaender. But the sector was still confident to also increase its sales on the home market in the year ahead.China continues to be the biggest sales market abroad for mining equipment made in Germany. For the current year, manufacturers expect to bring up sales from EUR 323 million to about EUR 400 million. As Dr Rheinlaender stressed, the country was actively enlarging its extraction capacities. This did not only cover coal but also almost all other raw material found in China. Russia ranks number two among major customer countries. According to Dr Rheinlaender, the country's economy was receiving sufficient capital again. Natural gas consumption in Russia was more and more reduced by switching to coal, so as to have greater capacities for currency earning exports. At once and for the same reason, coal exports were also to be brought up.Dr Rheinlaender also stressed that the VDMA Mining Equipment Association had launched a series of events under the motto "Future Mining" to support the predominant number of medium-sized companies in his sector to prepare for the future. There had been an "outstanding" response, particularly among the larger companies involved, although Dr Rheinlaender would have wished for a greater involvement of smaller companies. In his capacity as chairman of the VDMA Mining Equipment Association, he stressed that steering the wrong course now might have catastrophic effects for them in particular.