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Industrial Minerals

Industry overview

Tarmac’s sand and gravel products are used mostly in the production of ready-mixed concrete, but are also used for fills and drainage. Extracted from pits and dredged from coastal waters, materials are washed and graded prior to use.

Crushed rock is predominantly used for road construction (where it is used both as a foundation and, when heated and mixed with bitumen, as a surfacing material), other foundations, drainage, railway ballast and concrete products. Crushed rock may also be used in ready-mixed concrete.

Tarmac’s ready-mixed concrete is manufactured at production units located close to its market and is composed of sand, gravel, crushed rock, water, cement, cement replacements and other components dependent upon the performance required from the resultant mix. Ready-mixed concrete is transported to site in specialist truck mixers designed to mix the material during transit.

Mortar and screeds consist of sand, cement and various admixtures dependent on their application and performance requirements. Mortar is predominantly used for masonry applications such as bricklaying and will often contain lime to improve working properties.

Asphalt, which is manufactured by coating graded, crushed rock with bitumen, is the main product used for surfacing roads. Applied hot or cold to road foundations, asphalt is either supplied to site or collected by contractors from strategically located plants.

Tarmac’s concrete products sector provides the construction industry with a variety of pre-fabricated products, including blocks for walling, pre-stressed structural flooring and engineered pre-cast elements.

Tarmac’s lime and cement, which employ similar production processes, are added value materials used widely within construction. Lime is also an important product in the environmental and industrial sectors.

The aggregates, asphalt, cement and ready-mix markets in which Tarmac participate are consolidated in the UK, with a small number of large companies accounting for a large percentage of the market. The main aggregates players also compete in the more fragmented concrete products market.

As a result of the rapid decline in credit market liquidity, the industry faces a challenging and uncertain environment as demand thins against the backdrop of global slowdown.