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Mineral products give us places to live, places to work, places to play and much more. They literally underpin our society.

The mineral products industry does, however, have environmental implications.

Recognising this, the UK industry aims to adopt a responsible approach to its work and a considerate attitude to its neighbours.

It is easy to regard a quarry as a hole in the ground. It takes a bit more imagination to appreciate that many of the good things of life come out of that hole.

In a typical year, the UK mineral products industry supports:

  • the building of over 100,000 new homes
  • over £7 billion of school and university improvements
  • maintenance of our 230,000-mile road network
  • a £3 billion programme of improvements to water services
  • over £3.5 billion of investment in our rail network
  • supplies of special sands for glass foundry and other industries
  • cleansing of emissions from coal-fired power stations

In addition...

  • every year over three tonnes of aggregates are needed per head of the population in the UK.
  • a typical family indirectly demands a lorry load of aggregates each year
  • a new house requires some 60 tonnes of aggregates
  • the mineral products industry employs around 70,000 people directly and  indirectly

Although our aggregate consumption per head of the population is lower than that of most of our European neighbours, mineral products are a major industry.

There are over 2000 quarries and associated manufacturing sites in the UK.  The industry supplies products and services worth £9 billion worth a year. The construction industry, which contributes nearly ten per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product, is totally reliant on mineral products.

Demand for aggregates (both primary and recycled), which peaked at some 330 million tonnes a year in 1989, has fallen to around 200 million tonnes due to the recession. The industry has committed itself to minimising the call on primary aggregates and is investing heavily in facilities which will maximise the proportion of recycled and secondary aggregates. Britain leads Europe in the race to recycle with these materials now accounting for around a quarter of Great Britain’s aggregate market.

The mineral products industry provides nearly 30,000 jobs directly and supports even more indirectly through the industry’s spending on services. Many of these jobs are in rural areas where other employment opportunities can be scarce.

Many products we take for granted - from paper to glass, cosmetics to toothpaste – are manufactured using materials derived from mineral extraction.

If you need any more information, please e-mail the MPA here or call us on +44 (0) 20 7963 8000

Mineral products are among the very essentials of life - as important to us in their own way as the food from our farms
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