UPPER SIXTH
Case study for Technological Changes - EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY

KT 67 "The effect of technological changes on resource use."
Detailed material 6.4 "Technological changes (including transport and communication and its effects on the extractive industry". KT11 and KT81 provide background to the choice of aggregates as the extractive industry basic example. Cement is the developed example. Ref: Cement Manufacturer's Association sources - see
search window at bottom of page (type in 'Portland Cement')

   
The sand and gravel industry and its role as a supplier to UK construction industry. Aggregates policy and system in England.
What are aggregates?
Aggregates are an essential ingredient for the construction industry. Crushed rock, sand and gravel are all needed for the concrete, mortar, hardcore and infill that feature in building and maintenance projects for housing, offices, shops, factories, schools, roads, bridges, churches and so on. This briefing concentrates on the sand and gravel from land and shallow marine sources. The later cement briefing uses crushed limestone, shale and the mineral gypsum. In 1994 there were 2100 sites in England producing 216 Mt of construction aggregates. This represents 5-6 tonnes per person as compared to 1/16 of a tonne at the turn of the century (DoE 1996 and Simpson 1997). The sites covered a total of 29,000 ha (or 111 sq miles) with a further 17,000 ha classified as permitted (ibid). The demand for aggregates from road construction and maintenance totals 32% of production; one kilometer of motorway requires 100,000 tonnes of aggregates. Meanwhile housing consumes 28% of all aggregates; an average house requires 50-60 tonnes of aggregates during construction. Private commercial development consumes a further 23% and most of the remainder is accounted for by other public works projects. In 1996, aggregates sales fell by 11%. This has been explained by the cuts to the road building programme and the lack of growth in the construction industry. Government forecasts, however, show that the demand for aggregates is set to rise substantially over the 15 years to 2006 to approximately 300 Mt.
TOP OF PAGE

Aggregates is a highly raw material orientated industry with fixed geological deposits of highly sorted sand and gravel in the Quaternary fluvio glacial outwash sands and gravels, and, more recently, shallow offshore submarine deposits.

The two main sources of construction aggregates are crushed rock and sand and gravel. The distribution of resources across England, however, is not consistent. The sources of supply are not favourably located in relation to the largest markets. For example, crushed rock is found mainly in the South West and the East Midlands while demand is concentrated in urban South East England where 27% of all aggregate production is used. Furthermore, focuses of demand are in the cities while production is in rural areas.
Distance/ Cost issues ; dependance upon road transport Due to their heavy bulk characteristics, but the relatively low cost of extraction, the single greatest cost element for aggregates is transportation. Frequently this is by rail but in some areas, such as North Somerset, no rail facilities exist and so quarries rely upon road transport. Many smaller quarries in particular are unable to develop the economies of scale necessary to pay for rail connections and the industry is reliant upon heavy road transport. In 1993 the UK aggregates industry employed about 25,000 people and had a production value of about 1.3b The Essence of Aggregates Policy Since 1946 the planning of aggregates (which falls within the wider mineral planning system) has come within the overall town and country planning system. Consequently the twin elements of guidance through development plans and the control of development proposals on a case-by-case basis apply equally to proposals for the working of aggregates as they do for all other forms of development. County Councils or Unitary Authorities draw up a 10 year Minerals Local Plan (MLP) covering the whole of their area. Policies provide for the supply of minerals whilst also ensuring"the required degree of environmental protection associated with the development"and the MLP, which should cover a minimum period of 10 years, can set out the development control criteria that will be applied in considering applications, together with requirements for the restoration and aftercare of workings. These are large holes in the ground, useful for waste disposal sites, waterparks or even return to agriculture.
Government provides advise to Councils and the minerals industry on how to ensure that the construction industry receives an adequate and steady supply of materials at the best balance of social, environmental and economic cost. In order to attain adequate supply, Government tries to forecast the future demand for aggregates. Cambridge Econometrics were appointed to undertake forecasts for the economy as a whole over a 20 year period after which ECOTEC extrapolated the likely impact on the construction industry and the consequential demand for aggregates. The level of consented reserves was then subtracted from the total forecast demand to produce the additional amount which would have to be provided. Government identifies the way in which this provision should be met and apportions it to the regions stating the amounts that will come from primary, secondary, marine dredged and recycled sources.
TOP OF PAGE

Identification of aggregate sources
Specific sites are those where there are known reserves, that development will be acceptable in planning terms and the landowners are willing to allow development. Preferred areas are those where there are known to be reserves and where planning permission can reasonably be expected to be forthcoming. Because of the amount of time it takes to bring aggregates workings on line, Government encourages the use of land banks by MPAs. These will be sites with planning permission but not yet developed. In the event of an increase in demand, the site can then quickly be brought into production.
The Need Imperative; a vital national resource for the construction industry "The Government believes that for the economic well being of the country it is essential that the construction industry continues to receive an adequate and steady supply of aggregates so that it can meet the needs of the community and foster economic growth"
This approach to aggregates planning has its origins in the post World War 2 reconstruction period. There was at that time a massive demand for building materials to replace the building stock lost through enemy action and to modernise the infrastructure of the country. Rock, sand and gravel for use in concrete, mortar, hardcore and cladding all had to be supplied to the areas in which demand existed, primarily the large cities in the South East, the Midlands and the North of the country.


Strategic Plannuing to ensure continuity of aggregate production
In 1946 the government established a committee chaired by Sir Arnold Waters to make recommendations for the future control of the extraction of sand and gravel within the Town and Country Planning Act. The first report of the Waters Committee was convinced that the aggregates industry was essential for the economic recovery of the country and therefore needed to be properly planned. The forecasts though proved to consistently underestimate the actual levels of demand thereby demanding frequent revisions. When these started to predict a doubling of national production of sand and gravel over the 10-15 year period from 1965, alarm was raised about the impact upon agriculture, amenity and development in the South East. As a result the process of planning was revised in 1971. Forecasts are now made for a period of up of 25 years.
The overwhelming planning priority of "fulfilling the construction industry's needs" "The object of a policy for aggregates must be to achieve an adequate and steady supply of materials to meet the needs of the construction industry at minimum money and social costs"
TOP OF PAGE

The UK Cement Industry
The same priority can be identified in the supply of cement as can be found with aggregates. This emphasis upon "fulfilling the need" can be followed through the mineral planning system. "Mineral Planning Authorities should not include development control policies in their plans which require developers to provide evidence on the need for the mineral in support of their planning applications" (DoE 1996 ) Such is the national importance of the industry. Cement is made from geographically fixed resources that are dependent upon transport networks

Cement is made from Shale + Limestone + Gypsum; all low value/high bulk raw materials quarried and transported as crushed rock. Very low value/high bulk so distances must be at a minimum.
TOP OF PAGE

Cement works location factors
Cement works are large industrial plants located in, or near to, the extractive sites that are supplying them. Big, capital intensive, fixed plant includes: The crushing/screening plant in the quarry Mixing drying plant Cement loading plant for road or rail. Cement works are located near the surface outcrop contact between the shales and the limestones. The foot of the Chalk Downs with the more resistant Chalk escarpment overlooking the softer shales of the vale is a classic location, reasonably near to the market demand of London and the South East. The gypsum, an evaporite mineral (like salt ) is required in smaller quantities than the two other ingredients to control the setting rate of the cement and is mined elsewhere and brought to the cement works.
TOP OF PAGE

Basic Summary Ideas
Cement and aggregates are so dependant upon transport developments because they are so often remote from the market and distance/cost dependent for delivery; until the coastal sites were opened near to cities with new handling quays for the import of foreign cement and the marine aggregates. "The demand for cement is a good general indicator of the state of the economy e.g. economic upturn = road building programme, major construction projects, house building."
Extractive industries have geographically fixed locations based upon geological deposits.
The market may be remote from the point of production. The product, unprocessed or even in a processed state is usually bulky, dirty and of relatively low value by weight or volume. e.g. crushed rock or cement. Classic cost/distance increases can be assumed away from the point of production.
TOP OF PAGE

Technological changes in the cement industry: More efficient 24 hour operation cement works. Motorway system and upgraded ; A roads and by passes for HGV road distribution. Larger lorries introduced ; now HGVs up to 44 tonnes laden, on UK roads. (1999) Recent technological development of foreign competitors cement works in Poland/ Portugal; now able to produce cement to British Standard quality and import via new docks located on estuaries close to big urban market e.g. Thames Estuary for London and the Thames Estuary corridor developments, therefore changing the whole market area around cement works in UK which were based upon road distribution by HGV. N.B. Before the recent coastal imports of cement broke into the market the mainland of Britain was divided up into a series of cement works "market areas" with fixed spheres of influence made up of mutually agreed road supplied areas with agreed demarcation at the edges. Cement was a British Standard commodity with a uniform quality, and price set by the suppliers. Imported cement to B.S quality undercuts this market pricing.
TOP OF PAGE

KT 67 DETAILED MATERIAL 6.4 Revision Summary
1.Social Environment Vital jobs in rural areas with few alternatives e.g. Peak District quarries like TARMAC Plc. Valuable sites for later development as leisure/recreation e.g. Thames Valley water parks, Carnforth (Lancs.) recreation/leisure water park lodges; both in old gravel pits. The pressing social need for housing. Government planning for housing in 21st Century.
2.Built Environment The built environment is the product and direct result of this industry. The contentious issues: housebuilding programme e.g. Thames Estuary road building programme e.g.M6 relief airport extensions; new runways e.g Manchester and Birmingham.
3.The Physical Environment Extraction sites/quarries in areas of scenic/recreational value eg Peak District, Pennines. Dredging of marine sediments for aggregates is altering offshore currents to affect coastal processes. e.g Channel coast. Increasing road based transport by the largest HGV's causing exhaust pollution, congestion and the need for road improvements and more road building, often in areas of scenic value. e.g Peak District National Park, rural Oxfordshire.

TOP OF PAGE

From this link you will be redirected to the sixth form Chester web site. The 19 pages can be used as a resource for revision for exam papers GG02 and GG08 . Click here.