Where does Russia import mining machinery from?

With $3bn in imports annually, Russia is a major market for mining machinery – but where does it source it?

Imported products hold a hefty market share in Russia. Mining & mineral extraction efforts cannot proceed without it.

Russia should be on the radar of all mining equipment producers worldwide. What follows are the nation’s chief source markets for imported mineral extraction technology.

Russian mining machinery imports by country

The key mineral extraction tech suppliers

Roughly speaking, 46% of solutions in use by miners throughout Russia comes from non-CIS countries. The overall market split looks something like this:

  • Foreign countries – 46%
  • Domestically-made products – 33%
  • CIS countries – 21%

If you’re unfamiliar, the CIS countries are those in the Commonwealth of Independent States – a trading bloc comprised of former member states of the Soviet Union.

Of its nine members, Belarus and Kazakhstan are the chief manufacturers and exporters of mining equipment.

Of the foreign country segment, a variety of countries around the world act as suppliers. Those with the largest market shares are:

  • Germany – 29%
  • US – 21%
  • China – 11%
  • Canada – 11%
  • South Africa – 8%
  • Other countries – 20%

Other countries represent a multitude of different supplier nations. Poland, Japan, Sweden, and Australia, for instance, are all key suppliers of in-demand equipment.

The make up of these source markets is likely to change in the future. China is forecast to overcome all other exporters to become the chief supplier to Russia’s mining sector.

There’s a couple of big reasons for this. Firstly, relations between Russia and the US and its allies are frosty at best. While US-led sanctions have not had the impact on Russian mining that some commentators predicted, Russia is keen to move away from doing business with American companies.

China is positioning itself as a vital trade partner for Russia. Mining equipment fits into its goal of growing trade with its northern neighbour.

Of course, the chief suppliers of mining equipment change from sector to sector, product to product. For example, in heavy mining excavators, a number of manufacturers hold significant market share in Russia:

  • Caterpillar – US
  • Komatsu – Japan
  • Hitachi – Japan
  • Liebherr – Germany
  • Taiyuan – China

Meanwhile Belaz of Belarus and Scania and Volvo of Sweden hold a large chunk of the dumper truck and trucking import segment.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter when Russia finds its mining equipment. The crucial part is the fact its mining industry is reliant on imported equipment. What mining machinery does Russia import?

The answer is a full suite of mining & mineral extraction solutions, ranging from ultra-heavy equipment to IT services and software.

As it stands, foreign manufacturers currently cove the bulk of the below equipment:

  • Lifting machinery & cranes
  • Roadheaders
  • Mechanized penetrators
  • Concentrate dewatering equipment
  • Geological IT surveying solutions
  • Roller crushers
  • Magnetic separators
  • Photo & X-ray separators
  • Self-propelled drilling rigs
  • Hydraulics
  • Control support systems

Other areas with enormous potential include:

  • Mapping, airborne surveying, prospecting, exploration drilling services
  • EPC/EPCM contractors for the mining projects of 1-5m tons of ore per year
  • Maintenance and repair services for mining equipment
  • Mine safety, audit and environmental services
  • Ore processing and screening equipment
  • Geotechnical and construction equipment

Automation technologies are also gaining prominence in Russian mining – another potential avenue for exporters to navigate.

While the overall figure sits around 46%, the share of imported machinery and equipment in key segments varies, as seen below:

  • Power shovels – 10%
  • Stackers – 30%
  • Hydraulic excavators – 95%
  • Drilling & boring equipment – 50%
  • High volume dump trucks – 20%
  • Low volume dump trucks – 40%
  • Bulldozers – 50%
  • Loaders – 60%
  • Automation equipment – 30%
  • Conveyers – 30%

Why do Russian miners need imported technology?

The first reason is the current state of the majority of equipment used across Russia.

A majority of mining operations are reliant on outdated equipment from the Soviet era. At least 30 years old, older in some cases, such machinery is now obsolete. It’s also difficult to maintain as replacement parts are no longer readily available, adding to miner’s costs.

Another factor is domestic demand outweighing manufacturing. Russian producers cannot keep up with demand generated by their countrymen.

For example, the number Russian-made bucket excavators built between 2001-2013 was just nine.

With Russia pushing ahead with many new mining projects, operators will be looking to update their equipment pools and outfit these mines with the latest technologies.

More space for imported products is emerging day-on-day.

Find your buyers at MiningWorld Russia: the largest international mining & mineral extraction equipment exhibition in Russia

MiningWorld Russia is number one mining and mineral extraction technology and machinery exhibition in Russia.

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