About the Industry
Through their products, quarries give us places to live, places
to work, places to play and much more. They literally underpin
our society. Quarrying does, however, have environmental implications.
Recognising this, the UK industry aims to adopt a responsible
approach to its work and a considerate attitude to its neighbours.
It is easy to regard a quarry as a hole in the ground. It takes
a bit more imagination to appreciate that many of the good things
of life come out of that hole.
In a typical year, the UK’s quarry network supports:
- In a typical year, the UK mineral products industry supports:
- the building of over 100,000 new homes
- over £7 billion of school and university improvements
- maintenance of our 230,000-mile road network
- a £3 billion programme of improvements to water services
- over £3.5 billion of investment in our rail network
- supplies of special sands for glass foundry and other industries
- cleansing of emissions from coal-fired power stations
Although our aggregate consumption per head of the population is lower than that of most of our European neighbours, mineral products are a major industry.
There are over 2000 quarries and associated manufacturing sites in the UK. The industry supplies products and services worth £9 billion worth a year. The construction industry, which contributes nearly ten per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product, is totally reliant on mineral products.
Demand for aggregates (both primary and recycled), which peaked at some 330 million tonnes a year in 1989, has fallen to around 200 million tonnes due to the recession. The industry has committed itself to minimising the call on primary aggregates and is investing heavily in facilities which will maximise the proportion of recycled and secondary aggregates. Britain leads Europe in the race to recycle with these materials now accounting for around a quarter of Great Britain’s aggregate market.
The mineral products industry provides nearly 30,000 jobs directly and supports even more indirectly through the industry’s spending on services. Many of these jobs are in rural areas where other employment opportunities can be scarce.
Many products we take for granted - from paper to glass, cosmetics to toothpaste – are manufactured using materials derived from mineral extraction.
The quarrying and extractives sector is surprisingly
broad, and there are opportunities in a number of career
- Quarrying - varied roles carrying
the responsibility of managing the production of aggregates.
- Road Contracting -vital jobs in laying
the nation’s roads to the highest technical standards.
- Marine Aggregates - aggregates from
the seabed are a vital source of materials to UK construction
and there are a number of jobs on offer.
- Business Support - all the above are
multi-million pound industries that require high quality
business support to keep them running.
- Environment and Planning - the industry
places great emphasis on sustainable development, so planning
new operations, restoring the land and careful environment
management are important roles.
Find out more about what’s on offer in our job roles section.