Global demand for specialized mining machinery and equipment (including separately sold parts and attachments) is projected to increase 9.3 percent per year through 2009 to $27.5 billion, which is consistent with rates averaged between 1999 and 2004. Beginning about 2002-2003, prices for mineable commodities such as precious metals began to firm, then surged in 2004 and continued into 2006. This has led to intensified efforts to mine metal ores, and thus has generated healthy demand for mining machinery. Meanwhile, coal, facing dwindling reserves in many countries, remains in demand as an alternative source of energy in an era of high oil and gas prices.
China and India, which are vigorously consuming commodities to build their rapidly expanding infrastructures, are generally considered the source of the most intense demand, but many other countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Brazil and Poland, are also purchasing mineable commodities and downstream products at a strong pace. Suppliers of products such as mining machinery and equipment have benefitted substantially from this environment. In addition, many developing markets are less mechanized and are in the process of upgrading their capabilities, which should provide further impetus to demand growth.