A strong national economy and excellent quality of life are built
on a foundation of aggregates products. Aggregates touch our lives
everyday, from the driveway to the workplace. We drive, sit, stand
and walk on aggregates. But that is only part of this interesting
and important story.
Getting goods to market is paramount to economic growth. The nation's
infrastructure is dependent upon aggregates -- more than ninety
percent of asphalt pavement, and more than eighty percent of a concrete
sidewalk, is comprised of aggregates. Without sound infrastructure,
such as highways, mass transit, airports, water systems and rail,
the economy could not grow.
Many products that enrich our daily lives contain aggregates.
They are found in paint, paper, plastics and glass. In powder form,
aggregates are used as mineral supplements for agriculture, medicines
and household products. Aggregates are also used to protect the
environment by controlling soil erosion, assisting in water purification
and reducing sulfur dioxide emissions generated by power plants.
At the beginning of the 20th century, production of aggregates
in the United States was minimal and its uses limited. Today, aggregates
are produced in every state, and aggregates production tonnage ranks
first in the nonfuel minerals industry. More than two billion tons
of aggregates are used annually in the United States. This equals
ten tons of aggregates for every American!
The aggregates industry is highly competitive and characterized
by thousands of operations, serving small local markets. Transportation
is the major factor in determining the delivered price of aggregates
-- as freight costs from plant to market can exceed the sale price
of the product. Because of high transportation costs, and the large
quantities of material necessary for each project, aggregates are
usually marketed to local customers. The high transportation costs
explain the large number of quarries throughout the country.
Aggregates resources are widespread and abundant in supply nationally,
yet local shortages exist. Although it is better to be near urban
growth areas, increasing land values and local environmental concerns
are moving aggregates plants away from these markets.
The nation's economy and our quality of life are built on this