Asia Pacific is a major hub for the coal and iron ore mining industries. The major developing infrastructure and growing construction activities has enabled the significant need of these minerals, which in turn is leading to the need of mining lubricants. Australia and China are one of the largest producers of iron ore and bauxite. The mining lubricant market is totally dependent on the mining industry of these countries. Asia Pacific was the largest market for the mining lubricants in 2016. This in turn markets it an attractive market for mining lubricants. Increased mining to achieve energy and mineral resource for enhancing self-sufficiency ability are the major drivers behind this trend.
The downturn in mining related investments in South Africa due to the stringent government regulations adversely affected the mining lubricant industry in the country. Rising costs, labor unrest, and a decrease in commodity prices, has resulted in reduced profit margins from mining projects discouraging new announcements.
Mining can be carried out at the surface as well as underground. Rock drills, scoops, loader, hydraulic shovels, and draglines are used constantly in the operations of mining which causes wear and tear. This causes decrease in downtime and life of the equipment. Hence, mining lubricants play an important role in mining activities. In mining, the anti-wear performance and the need of good corrosion protection are mainly required to protect the metal surface. The mining lubricants are used to reduce costs by extending drain intervals, improving energy efficiency, and increasing equipment life. Due to the heavy duty nature of operations in mining sector, safe lifting of heavy loads is vital. Lubricants help keep the machinery in optimal shape. Improper lubrication leads to energy losses, seal issues, excess friction, and wear and tear on moving parts.
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Mining lubricants are available in various viscosities for different equipment function. Different lubricant are used in different equipment. The load on the equipment are different for surface mining and underground mining. Surface mining is preferred when the ores are located close to the surface of the earth. In underground mining, a hole is drilled to get the ore onto the surface, so more machinery are used for which more lubricants are required.
Depending on specific machine, application, operating condition and environment the mining lubricants are used. The mineral oil is better soluble with additives and it has high compatibility with seal and has lower cost. The synthetic lubricant are used at extreme environmental conditions and has higher cost than mineral oil. Furthermore, due to stringent environmental regulations and degradable property of bio lubricants, they are gaining preference over other lubricants.
Increased demand from construction industry for steel has resulted in increased iron mining. Countries such as India and China do not have oil and gas industry on scale as large as Middle East. Hence they are dependent on coal for domestic energy needs.
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Furthermore, the companies are adopting various organic and inorganic growth strategies for sustaining their market position in the mining lubricants market. For instance, in 2017, the Carmichael Coal Mining project in Australia by Adani Group is the largest orders placed, valued at US$ 2.6 billion with Downer Mining for the construction and operation of Carmichael mine. Some of the major companies operating in the mining lubricant market are Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ExxonMobil Corporation, BP Plc., Chevron Corporation, Total S.A., LUKOIL, Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd., Fuchs Petrolub SE, PetroChina Company Limited, Quaker Chemical Corporation, Sinopec Limited, Bel-Ray Company, LLC, Whitmore Manufacturing, Schaeffer Manufacturing Co Ltd., and Kluber Lubrication.