The mining industry is having a difficult time digging itself out of a multi-year slump, but this year's outlook, while still sluggish, is expected to be an improvement compared to 2016, according to industry observers.
The OE market for OTR tires was down in 2016, especially for large, heavy-duty equipment, and it is expected to remain flat this year, according to Tim Easter, director of off-the-road sales for Yokohama Tire Corp.
The aftermarket also suffered as fleets parked their equipment amid the mining slowdown.
However, things may change under the Trump administration.
"We're seeing a bit of an upturn on metallurgical coal and, based on changes in our government and how they react to the Clean Air Act and different things, I think you'll see steam coal could return," Easter said.
"We're getting reports now from some of our dealers and mines that they're putting people back to work, which is a very, very positive sign, and that's predominantly in the East. The western mines ... probably will see some of the same things in time."
The 2017 mining market will be driven by prices for gold, copper and other ores.
"If the economy improves and the market goes up, we could see some positive movement in that as well," Easter said.
"We're not seeing any big jumps, but we are seeing a small movement in a positive direction."
He noted a sense of optimism in the OTR industry regarding President Trump.