2010 in focus
First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe
Claire Symes Editor of Aggregates Business Europe
The end of the year always makes people look back and review the highs and lows of the last 12 months and although 2010 has been a challenging year for the quarry industry, it has improved as the year has progressed. I am also pleased that so many people I have spoken to recently think that the prospects for 2011 mean that the positive trend is likely to continue.
Writing for the features for the last issue of ABE for 2010 has made me feel quite nostalgic about the magazine and to look back over the time since it was launched in 2007. It is hard to believe that it is now at the end of its fourth year of publication - the time has flown past and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
Working on this magazine has given me a chance to get back to my roots and write about the material I studied at university before becoming a journalist. But the real enjoyment has come from the people I have met and places I have visited in the course of researching features.
In researching features for this issue, I had the opportunity to visit not only the lowest quarry on earth in Jordan for the quarry profile but also to swim in the Dead Sea afterwards. Of course, I had to get the classic 'reading a magazine while floating in the mineral-rich water' photograph but it had to be with a copy of ABE.
Over the last few years, the locations of quarries and events mean that I have also had the opportunity to visit the pyramids at Giza, remote areas of Turkey, Las Vegas and places like the Dead Sea, to name just a few.
My family often joke about where my next 'holiday' will be but it is the people that I have met through travelling for this job have helped to make it a pleasure rather than a chore. There is something about the quarrying industry that is somehow friendlier than the rest of the construction business. Maybe it is something to do with the way quarrymen live and work in a community and provide materials for the local market that makes it this way? Researching another feature for this issue took me to Western Ireland to visit the McGrath quarry in Cong and illustrated to me everything that is right about this industry. I went to interview Michael and John Joe McGrath who took over operation of the business from their father in the 1960s but I was welcomed by the whole family and it was clear that everyone working there cares about their neighbours. And, this does not go unappreciated by the local village either - even the barman at the local pub commented on how the family is integrated with community life.
What I am trying to say is, the quarrying industry is a wonderful and diverse sector which is achieving great things in terms of environment, health and safety, as well as financially. Thank you for allowing me to be part of the sector and helping to spread the news about the advances in quarrying as well as the people who make it happen. Let's hope 2011 is a safe and prosperous one for quarrying.