Aggregates Production Rises Higher in 2016

According to figures from the U.S. Geological Survey, total aggregates production in 2016 was 2.49 billion metric tons (Gt), up from 2.28 Gt in 2015. The information was reported in its 2017 Mineral Commodity Summaries report.

In 2016, 1.48 Gt of crushed stone valued at more than $16.2 billion was produced by 1,430 companies operating 3,700 quarries, 82 underground mines, and 187 sales and distribution yards in 50 states. This represents an increase of 11 percent increase compared with that of 2015.

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

Of the total domestic crushed stone produced in 2016, about 70 percent was limestone and dolomite; 13 percent granite; 6 percent traprock; 5 percent miscellaneous stone; 4 percent sandstone and quartzite; and the remaining 2 percent was divided, in descending order of tonnage, among marble, volcanic cinder and scoria, calcareous marl, slate and shell.

It is estimated that, of the crushed stone consumed in the United States in 2016, 76 percent was used as construction material, mostly for road construction and maintenance; 11 percent for cement manufacturing; 7 percent for lime manufacturing; 4 percent for other chemical, special, and miscellaneous uses and products; and 2 percent for agricultural uses.

With significantly stronger construction activity across the country in 2016 and recovery in the private sector and residential construction experiencing a level of growth not seen since late 2005, consumption of construction aggregates is likely to continue to increase. It is expected that the increased consumption in 2016 from that in 2015 will again reach or exceed the historical annual average of the past 50 years, which was a 2- to 4 percent increase per year.

Construction sand and gravel production was about 1.01 Gt in 2016, an increase of 7 percent compared with that of 2015. Consumption of construction sand and gravel was higher in 2016 because of increased consumption during every quarter since the second quarter of 2013, with an average increase of 6 percent over the same period of the previous year.

Construction sand and gravel valued at $8.9 billion was produced by an estimated 4,100 companies and government agencies from about 6,300 operations in 50 states. Leading producing states were, in order of decreasing tonnage, Texas, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Utah, Washington, New York, Arizona, Ohio and Colorado, which together accounted for about 55 percent of total output.

It is estimated that about 44 percent of construction sand and gravel was used as concrete aggregates; 25 percent for road base and coverings and road stabilization; 13 percent as asphaltic concrete aggregates and other bituminous mixtures; 12 percent as 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 3 percent for filtration, golf courses, railroad ballast, roofing granules,and other miscellaneous uses.

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 regions is expected to continue where regulations and local sentiment discouraged them. Resultant regional shortages of construction sand and gravel would likely result in higher-than-average price increases in industrialized and urban areas.

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