Four years ago the global mining industry gathered in Las Vegas, NV for MINExpo International 2012 under a cloud of uncertainty in the industry. The years prior were filled with a roller coaster ride for commodity prices as the world worked its way out of the great recession. Gold prices, one of the measures of the mining industry, were near historic highs while miners of some other commodities, like copper and coal, were still trying to make sense of the new realities of the world.
Despite the market conditions, MINExpo 2012 was the kind of gathering that only Las Vegas can put on. With more than 40,000 attendees and 79,900 m2 (860,000 sq ft) of exhibition space filled by some of the largest equipment in the world, it was a celebration of the sheer power and size of the earth-moving equipment in the mining industry. If there was any doubt that the industry was still operating under the belief that bigger is better in 2012 it was erased upon seeing the 190 t (210 st) Caterpillar Electro-motive Diesel (EMD) SD70ACE Locomotive on the show floor. It was the first heavy haul locomotive to be displayed at MINExpo and was designed specially to bring minerals to market. And if that wasn’t enough, in a nearby space there was the Liebherr T284 haul truck that weighs in at 236 t (261 st) and stands 15.5 m (51 ft) high. True to MINExpo form, the 2012 edition was a showcase of the biggest and the best in the industry.
Flash-forward to today and the industry is preparing to once again gather in Las Vegas, but this time MINExpo will kick off under much different circumstances.