First Look – April 2022


Athabasca Closes Acquisition
Athabasca Minerals Inc. closed the strategic acquisition of an operational U.S. sand mine and facilities in Wisconsin. The assets include real estate of 1,100 acres, a fully functional and staffed mine and processing plant capable of 2 million tpy of sand, fixed storage, rail transload with unit-train capability (i.e. loading/unloading 100 railcar shipments), mobile equipment and active supply chain contracts. 

Granite Construction Sells Unit
Granite Construction announced the close of the sale of its trenchless and pipe rehabilitation services business (Inliner) to Inland Pipe Rehabilitation, a portfolio company of investment affiliates of J.F. Lehman & Co., for a purchase price of $159.7 million.

Martin Marietta Sells Cement, Ready Mix Assets
Martin Marietta Materials entered into a definitive agreement to sell certain West Coast cement and ready mixed concrete operations to Taiheiyo Cement Corp.’s CalPortland unit for $250 million in cash. The operations include the Redding cement plant, related cement distribution terminals and 14 ready-mixed concrete plants located in California.

An estimated 647 million metric tons (Mt) of total construction aggregates was produced and shipped for consumption in the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 7% compared with that of the same period of 2020. The estimated annual output of construction aggregates produced for consumption in 2021 was 2.54 billion metric tons (Gt), an increase of 5% compared with that of 2020, according to Jason Willet, commodity specialist, National Minerals Information Center, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that total construction spending during January 2022 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,677.2 billion, 1.3% (±0.8%) above the revised December estimate of $1,655.8 billion. The January figure is 8.2% (±1.2%) above the January 2021 estimate of $1,549.8 billion. 

Despite production bottlenecks and rising construction costs, total housing starts led by a strong multifamily reading posted a solid gain in February as demand stays strong and existing inventory remains at low levels. Overall housing starts increased 6.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.77 million units, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is 22.3% above the rate posted a year earlier.

Total construction starts rose 9% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.013 trillion, according to Dodge Construction Network. Nonresidential building starts swelled 32% due to the start of three large manufacturing facilities. By contrast, residential starts fell 3%, and nonbuilding starts fell by less than 1%. Without the three large manufacturing projects, total construction would have declined 6% in February.

A federal district court judge issued an injunction to prevent a Missouri mine operator and its owner from stopping MSHA inspectors from completing workplace safety inspections now and in the future at the Partridge Sand & Gravel mine in Stone, Mo. The court action follows an incident at the mine on Aug. 17, 2021, when inspectors tried to conduct a statutorily required inspection. As they drove toward the mine, its owner used loading equipment filled with rocks and dirt to force the MSHA inspectors’ vehicle off the road.


3/22/2022: $111.76/barrel, up $15.32 from week earlier; up $50.21 from year earlier.

3/22/2022: $5.187/MMBtu, up $0.619 from week earlier, up $2.605 from year earlier

2/21/2022: $5.134/gal., up $0.116 from week earlier; up $1.940 from a year earlier.

12/20/2021: Average price to industrial customers 7.16 cents/kilowatt hour; up from 6.41 cents/kilowatt hour a year earlier.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

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