Minerals: industry performance

Aggregates at a glance

10 November 2015

Hilary Arrowsmith highlights some key facts on current industry performance


The UK public’s awareness of the minerals and mineral products industry can be limited, perhaps with the exception of oil and gas. The latest Mineral Products Association (MPA) Industry at a glance document, which highlights key facts, aims to help ‘make the link’ between mineral resources and general economic activity, detailing what minerals are, how much the country produces and where they are used (see Figure 1). Along with associated content on the MPA website, it provides a reference point for industry information.

rics, isurv, minerals

Figure 1

Key facts from the document are:

  • 300mt: GB production of aggregates and manufactured mineral products
  • £21bn: Annual turnover
  • £6.7bn: Total gross value added (GVA)
  • £445bn: Turnover of industries supplied
  • £135bn: Value of construction, the sector’s main customer
  • 80,000: People directly employed in the industry
  • 3.3 million: Jobs supported through the supply chain

Other headline figures include:

  • Each worker in the mineral products industry produced on average £81,000 in value added in 2013, 1.6 times more than the national average.
  • Materials in the MPA scope accounted for 68% of the total UK production of minerals in 2013 (including crude oil/natural gas/coal).
  • In 2014, 111mt of aggregates were produced in England, 25mt in Scotland, 20mt in Northern Ireland and 14mt in Wales.
  • In the 2014, crushed rock accounted for 45% of all GB aggregate sales, recycling 29% and sand & gravel 27%.
  • The annual cost of the aggregates levy was equivalent to 17% of the industry’s GVA in 2013.
  • The total cost of climate change and energy measures is estimated to rise from an equivalent of 8% of the GVA of the cement industry in 2014, to 46% by 2020.
  • In 2013, the use of aggregates and cement per capita in Great Britain was 32% and 48%, respectively, below the European average.

Aurelie Delannoy, MPA Economist, says:

'Industry data can seem pretty dry but the latest information on the scale and contribution of mineral products puts the industry’s activities into an important context. The operations are significant in their own terms, throughout the UK, but the real value is in how the industry supports and enables much of the economy to function.

Plans to improve the UK’s housing stock and infrastructure are reliant on the use of mineral products and the industry is a key element of the supply chain of many other industries. The industry is, therefore, central to the government’s objective of improving economic productivity and also essential to improving quality of life and standards of living for our growing population.'

The data is presented simply and succinctly, using easy-to-interpret graphs. The document provides:

  • product information, such as sales volumes and where production is concentrated.
  • analysis of maintaining long term aggregate supply, looking at permitted reserves and replenishment rates.
  • details of the cumulative burden of taxation and regulation on the industry.
  • outlining the industry’s contribution to sustainability using data on the share of recycled and secondary materials in total aggregate sales, resource efficiency, carbon dioxide emission reductions and biodiversity delivery.

The mineral products industry at a glance 2015 edition can be downloaded.

Hilary Arrowsmith is Communications Manager at the Mineral Products Association

Further information