Aggregates Report

By Mark S. Kuhar

Crushed Stone, Sand and Gravel Markets Quantified by U.S. Geological Survey.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) each year prepares a capsule summary of the U.S. aggregates market, as well as a list of the Top 100 crushed stone, and sand and gravel producers.

Following you will find market data released earlier in 2013 for the 2012 production year.

Crushed Stone
(Data in million metric tons unless otherwise noted.)

2012 Domestic Production and Use
Crushed stone valued at more than $11 billion was produced by 1,550 companies operating 4,000 quarries, 91 underground mines, and 210 sales/distribution yards in 50 states.

Leading states, in descending order of production, were Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, Virginia, Indiana, Tennessee, Florida and North Carolina, which together accounted for one-half of the total crushed stone output.

Of the total crushed stone produced in 2012, about 69 percent was limestone and dolomite; 14 percent, granite; 7 percent, traprock; 5 percent, miscellaneous stone; 4 percent, sandstone and quartzite; and the remaining 1 percent was divided, in descending order of tonnage, among marble, volcanic cinder and scoria, slate, shell and calcareous marl.

It is estimated that of the 1.24 billion tons of crushed stone consumed in the United States in 2012, 46 percent was reported by use, 27 percent was reported for unspecified uses, and 27 percent of the total consumed was estimated for nonrespondents to the USGS canvasses.

Of the 512 million tons reported by use, 82 percent was used as construction material, mostly for road construction and maintenance; 10 percent for cement manufacturing; 2 percent each for lime manufacturing and for agricultural uses; and 4 percent for special and miscellaneous uses and products.

To provide a more accurate estimate of the consumption patterns for crushed stone, the “unspecified uses – reported and estimated,” as defined in the USGS Minerals Yearbook, are not included in the above percentages.

The estimated output of crushed stone in the 48 conterminous states shipped for consumption in the first 6 months of 2012 was 532 million tons, an increase of 5.8 percent compared with that of the same period of 2011.

Second quarter shipments for consumption increased slightly compared with those of the same period of 2011. Additional production information, by quarter for each state, geographic division and the United States, is reported in the USGS quarterly Mineral Industry Surveys for Crushed Stone and Construction Sand and Gravel.

Road surfaces made of asphalt and crushed stone and, to a lesser extent, cement concrete surface layers and structures were recycled on a limited but increasing basis in most states.

Asphalt road surfaces and concrete were recycled in 49 states and Puerto Rico. The amount of material reported to be recycled increased by 11 percent in 2012 compared with that of the previous year.

Events, Trends and Issues
Crushed stone production was about 1.24 billion tons in 2012, a 7 percent increase compared with that of 2011. Apparent consumption also increased to about 1.28 billion tons. Demand for crushed stone was slightly higher in 2012 because of the apparent end of the slowdown in activity that some of the principal construction markets have experienced during the last six years.

Long-term increases in construction aggregates demand will be influenced by activity in the public and private construction sectors, as well as by construction work related to security measures being implemented around the nation. The underlying factors that would support a rise in prices of crushed stone are expected to be present in 2013, especially in and near metropolitan areas.

The crushed stone industry continued to be concerned with environmental, health and safety regulations. Shortages of crushed stone in some urban and industrialized areas are expected to continue to increase owing to local zoning regulations and land-development alternatives. These issues are expected to continue and to cause new crushed stone quarries to locate away from large population centers.

Sand and Gravel
(Data in million metric tons unless otherwise noted.)

2012 Domestic Production and Use
Construction sand and gravel valued at $6.4 billion was produced by an estimated 4,000 companies and government agencies from about 6,500 operations in 50 states.
Leading producing states, in order of decreasing tonnage, were California, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, Utah, Ohio, Colorado, New York, Washington and Arizona, which together accounted for about 49 percent of the total output.

It is estimated that about 43 percent of construction sand and gravel was used as concrete aggregates; 26 percent for road base and coverings and road stabilization; 12 percent each as asphaltic concrete aggregates and other bituminous mixtures and construction fill; 1 percent each for concrete products, such as blocks, bricks and pipes; plaster and gunite sands; and snow and ice control; and the remaining 4 percent for filtration, golf courses, railroad ballast, roofing granules and other miscellaneous uses.

The estimated output of construction sand and gravel in the 48 conterminous states, 366 million tons shipped for consumption in the first six months of 2012, was nearly 8 percent higher than the 340 million tons estimated for the same period in 2011. A milder than usual climate in the first quarter of 2012 contributed to a better than average production for the quarter.

Recycling of asphalt road surface layers, cement concrete surface layers and concrete structures was increasing.

Events, Trends and Issues
With U.S. economic activity slowly improving, construction sand and gravel output for 2012 increased about 5 percent compared with that of 2011.

The total number of employees in the U.S. construction sand and gravel industry increased by 6 percent in 2012 compared with that of 2011. Growth in housing starts in 2012 is increasing demand for construction sand and gravel in many states.

Growth was also seen in some nonresidential construction, especially within the sectors of communications, power generation and nonhighway transportation. One analyst forecast an 8 percent increase in total construction in 2013 for the United States.

The construction sand and gravel industry remained concerned with environmental, health, permitting, safety and zoning regulations. Movement of sand and gravel operations away from densely populated centers was expected to continue where regulations and local sentiment discouraged them.

Resultant shortages of construction sand and gravel would likely result in higher-than-average price increases in industrialized and urban areas. 

On the following pages you will find the most current list of the Top 100 crushed stone, and sand and gravel producers, as compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey, based on 2011 data.

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