Search Stories by: 
&/or
 

Geology Talk, Geology













Global aggregates production: 1998-2017

Nineteen years to the month that he began his long association with this publication, Bill Langer reflects on the performance of global aggregate production in this period – and how it was impacted by the global downturn of the past decade.

I have been writing this column for almost 20 years. Actually, I penned my first article 19 years ago this month. (Aggregate – An international commodity. In: Quarry 1999; 7(2):58.)

Just for the heck of it, I re-read all my articles. Wow! A lot has happened over the years. This year I will choose from past articles and talk about how things have changed.

Figure 1 shows per capita aggregate production for Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, and the United States. Production is strongly related to population, and there is a huge difference in populations among these areas and each country’s aggregate production. To normalise the graph, I plotted per capita aggregate production.

Figure 1. The per capita aggregate production for Australia, Canada, China, EU and US - 1998-2014.
Figure 1. The per capita aggregate production for Australia, Canada, China, EU and US - 1998-2014.

Probably the biggest thing that happened to the aggregate industry in the past score of years was the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), a period of general economic decline in world markets during the late 2000s and early 2010s.

You can see that during the first 10 of the past 20 years, aggregate production in Australia, Canada, the EU and the US pretty much chugged along, with some slight ups and downs. Then, around 2008, the aggregate industry in Canada, the US and the EU took a big hit.

In the US, this relates to the burst of the housing bubble and the failure of the subprime mortgage market. Per capita aggregate production in Canada, the EU and the US has never fully recovered from the GFC.

It is a completely different story with China, where, during the past 20 years, per capita aggregate production quadrupled from 4 to 17 tonnes. Unless you pulled a Rip Van Winkle and slept for the past 20 years, you probably are aware that China’s economy has been booming since the 1980s.

Part of that growth involves a population shift from rural areas to the cities. With its population of 1.3 billion people and thirst for new housing and other infrastructure, it’s little surprise that China’s per capita aggregate demand has steadily increased.

Figure 2. The economic state of countries in 2009 was a proxy for aggregate production. Countries in green had gains; countries in brown had losses.
Figure 2. The economic state of countries in 2009 was a proxy for aggregate production. Countries in green had gains; countries in brown had losses.

However, how do you explain aggregate production in Australia? In 2008 and 2009, while per capita aggregate production in Canada, the EU and the US was plummeting, production in Australia increased.

Australia avoided the GFC due to a number of factors, one of which is the country’s proximity to the booming Chinese economy. Exports to China, and the related mining boom in Australia, helped keep its economy growing throughout the worst of the GFC.

China’s strong economic growth has inspired other low and middle income countries such as Brazil, and other countries with large populations, such as India, to emulate its economic model.

So how did aggregate production in other countries fare during the GFC? Not a lot of countries report on aggregate production, but because economic growth is closely related to aggregate production, Figure 2 showing the economic conditions of countries in 2009 can be used as a proxy for aggregate production.

Countries coloured green had economic gain from 2008 and 2009, whereas countries coloured brown had economic losses. The darker the green or brown, the greater the economic gain or loss respectively.

Let’s see if it works. The US, Canada and the EU countries (except Poland, where aggregate production increased from 2008 to 2010) all had decreases in aggregate production and economic losses. Australia and China had increased aggregate production and economic gains. Yup, it seems to work.

I wonder what this map will look like 20 years from now …











ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Langer
Independent Research Geologist

Bill Langer is a freelance writer and retired Senior Research Geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. Bill is now an independent researcher specialising in aggregate resources. Click here to email Bill or visit his website.








Thursday, 18 October, 2018 10:42pm
login to my account
Username: Password:
Free Sign Up

Receive FREE newsletter and alerts


CONNECT WITH US
Display ad standard
advertisement
Display ad standard
advertisement
Display ad Delux
advertisement