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Mineral products industry is UK’s biggest by volume – MPA report

Mineral Products Association | Mineral Products Association

4 min read Partner content

New figures show that the UK mineral products sector is the country’s biggest industry by volume and is making a greater contribution than ever to the economy.

In its latest report Profile of the UK Mineral Products Industry, the Mineral Products AssociationReport front page (MPA) highlights the industry’s significant contribution to the UK economy through the domestic production of construction and industrial mineral products from 2,300 active quarries and plants nationwide.

Besides providing 419 million tonnes of essential materials – from aggregates and concrete for construction to industrial lime and industrial sand for manufacturing – the sector generated £22 billion in annual revenues and contributed £8 billion in GVA (Gross Value Added) in 2021, the year on which the report is based.

With a direct workforce of around 80,000 people – plus an estimated 3.2 million jobs supported through the supply chain – the mineral products industry is also highly productive, with each worker producing almost £99,000 in gross value added in 2021, well above the national average of £65,000.

graphic of results

graphic of results

The MPA report confirms the mineral products industry as an essential economic enabler for other sectors to thrive. Mineral products are as universal in, and essential to, everyday life as they are to broader economic activity, growth and prosperity. And a healthy domestic mineral products industry is fundamental for developing UK infrastructure and improving living standards.

This is especially the case for construction - which accounts for the majority of the industry’s output – where mineral products represent by far the largest component of the supply chain, providing raw materials to improve our housing stock, transport networks, commercial and industrial buildings, energy and water infrastructure, and our schools and hospitals.

The report goes on to emphasise that non-construction markets are also important, with mineral products playing a key role in the manufacture of iron and steel, ceramics, paper, glass, agriculture and horticulture, as well as water treatment, air pollution control, food and pharmaceuticals.

Aurelie Delannoy, MPA Director of Economic Affairs and lead author of the report, said: “This report is unique; The only study of its kind. It is a testament to a sector without which life as we know it would not be possible, but that unfortunately too few understand.

“The UK mineral products Industry provides essential and economically, socially and environmentally sustainable materials to build our economy and improve our way of life. Individually we each create the need for just under 4 tonnes of aggregates on average each year. Key Government policy ambitions, from infrastructure, to housing and net zero, all hinge directly on the steady and secure supply of these products.”

Jon Prichard, MPA Chief Executive said: “Our latest Profile of the UK Mineral Products Industry is a comprehensive overview of the significant contribution and benefits of our industry to the UK economy and our vital role in enabling other sectors of activity to thrive.

“Looking forward, producers face some critical challenges, such as securing the long-term supply of minerals, promoting circularity, and addressing climate change including the industry's commitment to improving sustainability and achieving net zero emissions. At the same time, the industry will continue to play an important role supporting nature recovery through the restoration of worked quarries.

“As we continue to foster growth and innovation in the UK economy, working towards a more sustainable future, we hope that this publication will serve as a valuable resource for policymakers, stakeholders, and anyone seeking to gain an understanding of the significance of the mineral products industry.”


About the Mineral Products Association:

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and industrial sand industries. With the merger of British Precast, and affiliation of the British Association of Reinforcement (BAR), the British Calcium Carbonate Federation, the Cement Admixtures Association (CAA), CONSTRUCT, Eurobitume, MPA Northern Ireland, MPA Scotland and the UK Quality Ash Association (UKQAA), it has a growing membership of 520 companies and is the sectoral voice for mineral products. MPA membership is made up of the vast majority of independent SME quarrying companies throughout the UK, as well as the 9 major international and global companies. It covers 100% of UK cement and lime production, 90% of GB aggregates production, 95% of asphalt and over 70% of ready-mixed concrete and precast concrete production. In 2021, the industry supplied £22 billion worth of materials and services to the Economy. It is also the largest supplier to the construction industry, which had annual output valued at £178 billion. Industry production represents the largest materials flow in the UK economy and is also one of the largest manufacturing sectors.

Read the most recent article written by Mineral Products Association - MPA PRESS RELEASE: Scotland’s growth and net zero plans need mineral products


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