Modern Quarrying

MQ has been going through its archives and found a paper presented at an international conference in 1984. It was a keynote address in which the author maintained that the quarrying and concrete industries were inextricably linked, both technically and financially.

The presenter held the view that it was foolish to believe that one could be involved in one but not the other. He said: “Investment in rock is but part of the story – if you want that, you must be prepared to face up to the complications of the down-stream activities which assuredly must follow if you are to achieve the best possible return on your investment.”

A blast from the past

He spoke about the nature and gravity of the problems confronting the quarrying industry, and the larger construction industry.

Looking at the commonality of interests, he said it was difficult to deal with the quarrying industry without also dealing with the broader construction industry. “Certainly, there is a very real need for the construction materials industry as a whole to work towards bringing about an explanation in the demand for its products, while at the same time achieving a degree of long-term stability.

“That there is a commonality of financial interest between the segments of the construction materials industry is borne out by the fact that the commercial success enjoyed by each of the segments of the industry is very much dependent on the level of activity in the building and construction industries. Moreover, they are similarly affected by the various forces operating in the economy and by the overall level of activity in the economy.”

He said it was not unusual for any one segment of the construction materials industry to prosper while the other segments languished for want of demand.

Interestingly too, he maintained that it was the industry’s size and importance that gave it an entitlement to have its views taken into account by those responsible for the management of the economy, adding that “this entitlement is that much greater where the decision either relates to matters affecting the way we operate, or impacts (or is likely to impact) on the level of activity in industry.”

The speaker said it was important, when governments are contemplating legislation or regulation to control an industry, that they had the best possible advice as to the practical implications and costs of the various proposals being considered. “Our industry is the most qualified to give such advice when it comes to what is needed, if anything, to control its activities. There is a legitimate, and to my mind very necessary role to be played by industry in ensuring that the advice given to government in respect of legislation or regulation that impacts on its operations, is balanced.”

He said the need for improved communication by the industry at all levels with both the community and government addresses only part of the problem. “In the future, the industry will have to give greater account to the impact its operations have on the environment.

“The direction that industry will have to take will in the future, involve the development of fewer but larger projects which, in all probability, will involve more than one owner. It is only through the movement towards larger-scale operations that the industry will be able to afford the heavy costs involved in undertaking such schemes.”

So what has changed?

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