Mineral products touch the lives of everyone in Wales and play a significant role in helping Welsh Government deliver its policies.
Without the essential raw materials our members produce we would not be able to build homes, schools, hospitals and factories. The Welsh road and transport network, energy infrastructure and water and sewage systems rely heavily on the raw materials we extract.
Crushed rock and sand & gravel are used to produce cement, concrete, asphalt, lime, bricks, blocks and mortar, while slate and other dimension stone provide distinctive Welsh products across the world. Industrial minerals support an array of manufacturing and agricultural applications, while other sources of marine and land-based minerals help address the challenges of climate change, providing mineral products for flood alleviation and coastal defences. Extensive use is also made of recycled aggregates and secondary materials, derived from the waste products of other industrial processes such as steel production.
While most Welsh mineral products support local projects some high value minerals are widely used across the UK. These include cement, with Wales hosting two cement manufacturing plants, along with high polished stone value (PSV) sandstone used in road surfacing because of its skid resistance qualities. These reflect the importance of many of the minerals produced in Wales to the wider UK economy.
The mineral products industry is a key employer in Wales – providing direct employment to around 3,800 people at more than 200 sites and generating sales of £650m. The majority of these jobs are in rural areas where there are limited opportunities for secure employment. It has been estimated that more than 2,000 people are indirectly employed supporting the sector, largely through the energy, transport and contracting services it requires.
The Welsh mineral products sector is significant in its own right, but it also plays a vital role in supporting the Welsh construction sector, which represents six per cent of the Welsh economy, has a turnover of £6.1 billion and provides 88,000 jobs.
MPA Wales routinely and constructively engages with national decision makers and regulators bringing considerable benefit to members, which includes all major operators alongside a number of regional businesses and associate members.
Along with Welsh Government and the Regional Aggregates Working Parties, it plays an important role in helping local authorities to plan for future aggregate supply.
MPA Wales meets three times a year to discuss relevant issues from health and safety, skills, competence and training to environmental and planning issues. Our annual lunch and seminar, normally held on the first Friday in March,attracts a variety of important speakers on relevant issues.Two safer by sharing events are staged each October.
There is a strong emphasis on planning and permitting issuesas members have excellent relations with the Welsh Government's chief planner and the wider mineral team, as well as with the main environmental regulator Natural Resources Wales.
MPA Wales continues to campaign for the return of the Aggregates Levy Fund Wales which supported those living in quarrying areas by funding environmental and community schemes.
The Welsh Economy Research Unit of Cardiff Business School was commissioned to undertake an analysis of the economic contribution of the mineral products industry to the Welsh economy by the Mineral Products Association, the British Marine Aggregate Producers Association and The Crown Estate in November 2014.
The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries.