We recently caught up with Tom Wick, Business Development Manager to learn more about the state of play of the aggregates market in Texas.
Let's start out with two questions for you.
1. What would you guess is the largest mining industry in the world?
If you said sand and gravel (aggregates) mining, you would be right! According to Grand View Research, in 2018 the aggregate mining industry generated over $432 billion worldwide.
2. Where, would you guess, is one of the hottest mining markets in the United States (and I’m not talking temperature, although it is pretty hot)?
If you said Texas, you’d be two for two.
A Booming Economy
Everywhere you look in Texas there is construction and if there isn't yet, there soon will be. Texas is booming by all measures. Currently one of the best indicators of the booming Texas economy is our unemployment rate. As of June 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Texas’ unemployment rate is at an all-time record low. Record-high employment has led to an economic boom in the Lone Star State. A booming economy leads to expanding construction needs, of which aggregates are the foundation (pun intended).
With the record low unemployment, you would expect to see rising income and that is just what we see in Texas. This rising income will spur more construction as the mostly employed Texans purchase new housing and cars that need roads. Currently, this construction cycle is hulk-strong and both commercial and residential construction is ripping along in all 4 major economic areas - Houston, DFW, San Antonio, and Austin. This good news means more jobs and more construction, and as a result, a greater demand for the aggregates that make up products like concrete and asphalt.
Meeting Your Concrete and Asphalt Demands
Concrete and asphalt are everywhere! Concrete products are used in commercial and residential construction for foundations, walls, bricks, mortar, floors, driveways, roofs, and roads among many other things.
Concrete is made of four basic components: water, sand, gravel and portland cement. The cement acts as a binding agent when mixed with the water and aggregates. According to TACA (Texas
Aggregates & Concrete Association) on average it takes 100 yards of concrete to build a home, 15,000 yards of concrete to build a mile of highway, 30,000 yards of concrete to build a hospital and 100,000 yards of concrete to build a high school stadium.
Asphalt is mainly used in the US to pave over and extend the life of concrete roadways. Asphalt is like concrete in that it requires sand and gravel in its construction but instead of portland cement and water to bind the aggregates, asphalt (bitumen) along with heat is the cement that binds the aggregates. Asphalt paving is comprised of approximately 95% aggregates and 5% asphalt cement. Texas has nearly 700,000 miles of road which is more than any other state. Texas typically uses around 15 million tons of asphalt each year. That is a lot of sand and gravel!
What does all this mean for the Texas aggregate industry?
Well, we believe this is a growing trend set to continue for the future. The booming Texas economy and a growing population is causing an increased demand for roads & other construction projects. The Aggregate industry should try to maximize its yields through optimized operating processes in order to maintain its future sustainability. Now is the right time to review traditional dry screening or inefficient washing operations, audit operational efficiencies & yields and explore the benefits of an efficient aggregate wash plant upgrade or expansion.
CDE is an international materials wet processing equipment manufacturer dedicated to building efficient and environmentally friendly equipment to produce minerals including sand and gravel for the concrete and asphalt industry. CDE has been making sand and aggregate wash plants with the latest and most efficient technology for over 25 years – CDE Washing Works.
Watch the video below to see the impact CDE equipment has had on Texan sand & gravel producer Collier Materials. If you would like more information on CDE's sand & gravel wash plants, please complete the contact form that follows.