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“The boom in mining is tied directly to the sustained high prices the market is paying for metals and minerals,” said Voss. “Gold hit a 24-year high, silver an 18-year high, zinc, a 15-year high, and lead a 25-year high.” It’s not the West that’s demanding these commodities. “China and India are driving demand,” said Voss.

Across the board, suppliers are booked well into 2006 and it’s almost a certainty that the current boom will continue through the year. According Peter Gilewicz, Principal of Parker Bay, “Certainly, 2006 looks to be another very good year for large mining equipment manufacturers. But how good is always a hazardous guess.”

As to whether it could top 2005, Gilewicz says, “There are at least a few reasons to think things might soften a bit after two-plus years of all-out demand for new equipment. I don’t think 2006 will reach 40-50% increase in equipment shipments over the extraordinarily strong 2005 levels. But that’s my guess only.”

If there’s any area that might top 2005 numbers, said Gilewicz, it’s the largest of the giant machines. “I’d watch for the biggest equipment.”

How big is big? On the upper end, according to Voss, “Ultra trucks are three stories tall. They carry up to 400 short tons in payload capacity,” said Voss. “One truck can move more than 555 Dodge Ram pick up trucks,” said Voss.

An expanded version of this piece including charts is available from Bristol Voss.

Note: Data contained in this release are derived from Parker Bay’s proprietary database. The Parker Bay Co specializes in providing individualized market research for companies in the mining, earth-moving and capital equipment industries.

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