When Gordon and John McShannon, together with John Warren, bought Hydra Mining Tools International out of administration on the collapse of the UK coal industry, they re-invented the business. The Rotherham firm makes cutting heads for coal-extraction machines that minimise dust and risk of explosion. Targeting territories where the market is booming, Hydra opened Chinese and American subsidiaries and sold to Australia where its heads have set world production records and are used in 60% of mines. Customers include mining giants such as BHP Billiton as well as small independent Chinese mines which contribute more than 25% of turnover. International sales have risen 65% a year, from £3.2m in 2008 to £8.7m in 2010.
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