Skip to main content

Industrial espionage in German mining industry

World Coal,

The VDMA Mining Equipment Association has found relevant proof confirming that the German mining equipment industry is being spied on.

At the German Engineering Federation, Paul Rheinländer, chairman of VDMA, explained that there are limited options for mining companies to protect themselves against the highly technical methods used by secret services. According to VDMA sources, the business of stealing data has now become beneficial not only for secret services, but also for the mafia. Some mafia groups earn more money with stolen company information and product piracy than with prostitution and drug dealing.

Medium sized companies have an advantage over corporations and other large companies, as much of the information is not stored in computers, but it retained as knowledge by staff. Rheinländer explains: “This helps us to meet this challenge.”

Market insecurity
Over the last ten years (to 2012), mining equipment manufacturers have tripled their turnover to €6.2 billion. Final data from 2013 is estimated to end on a 1% increase, to approximately €6.3 billion. In 2014, companies are anticipating losses in the lower double-digit percentage range, due to falling raw material prices and general market insecurity.

Rheinländer believes that raw material producers are at the top of the cycle. The markets have always been, and will continue to be, subject to peaks and troughs. In 2015, sales figures could start to rise again. In the medium and long-term, demand for raw material will probably increase considerably. “Our machinery significantly contributes to meeting this demand”, explains Rheinländer.

Cost awareness
German manufacturers benefit primarily from the further increased cost awareness of their customers due to falling raw material prices. Here, life cycle costs are becoming increasingly central to the overall picture. In terms of quality and by extension also of life cycle costs, Rheinländer claims that VDMA are “leaders in many fields." Additionally, many large mining companies are now under pressure and are no longer concluding package agreements, but are increasingly splitting their purchasing transactions due to falling raw material prices. This is resulting in additional orders for VDMA.

Decline in sales
Based on the figures currently available, the German domestic market is estimated to post a decline in sales of approximately 4% to €430 million in 2013. How things develop from here, explains Rheinländer, will depend on how the change in energy policy in Germany is implemented. Since power stations are now only providing a reduced supply, demand for coal has dropped considerably. In addition to this, imported coal from the US is also impacting the market. Ruhrkohle AG plans to wind down its investments to zero by 2018 when it closes its hard coal mines, which could lead to affected companies adapting accordingly, says Rheinländer. He assumes that the anticipated minus triggered by this can be recouped on the world markets.

Foreign turnover
Foreign sales in 2014 will increase by approximately 2% to €5.8 billion. Due to falling raw material prices and general insecurity on many markets, a minus is anticipated for 2014 in the lower double-digit percentage range. The largest export countries are the US, followed by Russia and China. Latin America, in particular, is developing into an ever more interesting sales region. Their share in total exports in 2012 still stood at 7%. This year the figure will be approximately 9%.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

Read the article online at:


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):