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Sustainability in the UK construction minerals industry

Mitchell, Clive. 2015 Sustainability in the UK construction minerals industry. [Lecture] In: Third International Forum for Industrial Rocks and Mining, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, 30 March - 1 April 2015. (Unpublished)

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Abstract/Summary

Sustainability in the UK construction minerals industry Clive Mitchell, Industrial Minerals Specialist, British Geological Survey, Nottingham, UK Email: cjmi@bgs.ac.uk Sustainability is not just about environmental protection it also concerns biodiversity, community relations, competence, employment, geodiversity, health and safety, resource efficiency, restoration and stakeholder accountability. The UK construction minerals industry aims to supply essential materials in a sustainable manner that is economically viable and socially and environmentally responsible. It was seriously affected by the economic downturn with a significant reduction in sales over the 2008 to 2012 period. The recovery of the construction sector in the UK started in 2013 and is expected to continue through 2015. Over this period resource efficiency has improved alongside an increase in recycled and secondary materials and a reduction in mineral waste. In response to concerns about climate change, the construction minerals industry is working to reduce its carbon footprint. The manufacture of cement and lime are the most energy intensive processes in the industry. Over the period 2008 to 2012 the industry reduced emissions significantly, although there is a limit as 60% of the CO2 comes from the thermal decomposition of calcium carbonate. The supply of minerals to market is dominated by road transport however there is an increasing focus on rail and marine alternatives which can deliver larger volumes, help reduce freight costs and environmental impact. The UK Aggregates Carbon Reduction Portal provides advice and guidance on reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption. The construction minerals industry plays its part in preserving the biodiversity and geodiversity of its operating sites. Best practice is underpinned by the UK Government Biodiversity 2020 strategy, supported by schemes such as Nature After Minerals and recognised by the high profile annual Restoration & Biodiversity Awards. Local heritage is preserved through archaeological investigations that follow the industry Code of Practice. The UK construction minerals industry employs 35,000 with a further 35,000 in support businesses. It operates a “Zero Harm” policy with hard targets to reduce the Lost Time Incident Frequency Rate and advice and guidance through www.safequarry.com. Staff competence is developed and supported by the Mineral Products Qualification Council (MPQC). It has excellent relations with local communities and stakeholders , saw 27,589 visitors to sites in 2013 and plays its part in education as shown by the web portal www.virtualquarry.co.uk. This presentation will cover key sustainability issues and progress made by the UK industry as outlined by the Mineral Products Association 2014 sustainability report “Engagement and delivery … a continuing story”.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Lecture)
Additional Keywords: Sustainability; UK minerals; construction aggregate
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 10 Apr 2015 14:54 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/510605

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