The mining tire market is enjoying continued growth in sales as the mining industry rebounds in the U.S. supported by favorable government policies.
"Overall, 2018 was a positive year for the mining industry. We saw growth in almost all segments with strong demand and low market supply in key areas," said Jake Thompson, B2B mining segment operations manager, Michelin North America.
"We anticipate continued growth through 2019 in both OE and the replacement market."
OE tire demand continued to dramatically expand year-over-year, particularly in sizes for larger equipment, which was consistent with OE equipment orders, according to Shawn Rasey, director of global business development of earthmover tires for Continental Tire the Americas' commercial specialty tire division.
Likewise, the replacement tire market continued to grow in 2018 for the U.S. and Canada but by a more modest level, he said. Future replacement demand should be buoyed by the large volume of new OE mining machines that entered the market in 2017 and 2018.
The growth in OE equipment sales is a combination of scheduled replacement of mining equipment and fleets adding new equipment as they started to ramp up their capacities, he said.
"Based on market indicators, while some product shortages will persist for much of the year, we would estimate that the OE channel will still grow in 2019, but at a slower rate than the previous two years," Mr. Rasey said. "For replacement, the growth should be slightly up, with the caveat of some market niches may grow more based on improving supply."
Across the board, commodities have been in a better place over the last couple of years, but particularly in coal, Mr. Rasey said.
"We've seen, particularly in Appalachia in western Pennsylvania, really a lot of re-energized activity for both metallurgical coal as well as steam coal."
Bruce Besancon, Yokohama Tire Corp.'s vice president of OTR sales, agreed, noting that coal mining has done extremely well over the last two to three years and surmised that pace will continue into 2019, mainly due to current federal administration policies.
"From our first indications of this year we are seeing a slight trend upwards — and, as we have stated in the past, we are very cautiously optimistic about increases (both in underground and surface mining) across the board. We are seeing significant increases in quotes and requests for our product," Mr. Besancon said.
The OTR tire market in 2018 was a good year for a lot of manufacturers, BKT USA Inc. said. North America experienced a tire shortage for large mining tires due to a reduction in production caused by raw material shortages. This was coupled with an increase in tire demand driven by an increase in new equipment production. Demand has risen in the past year, but sales have only slightly increased due to availability constraints, the tire maker said.
The mining industry will continue to grow as new mines open.
"Within a small Nevada area alone, six new mines are opening in late 2019 and early 2020. Demand will continue to grow based on the increasing need for construction raw material. The demand for ore and other precious elements will drive OEMs to build larger machines to maximize output. These new machines will require even more specialized tires to satisfy load capacities," BKT said.