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Death, taxes and the great need for construction and quarrying plant

First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe
May June 2018
Guy Woodford, Editor
Guy Woodford, Editor

But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes’, wrote Benjamin Franklin in 1789 in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, the French physicist, discussing the potential permanency of the then new United States Constitution.

What one of the founding fathers of America forgot to add in his letter to his erudite friend was the certainty in life of the need for building materials and construction and quarrying equipment. Without it, where would all the homes and other infrastructure a society needs come from?

Twentieth century Austrian-British philosopher and professor, Karl Popper, once said that ‘to demand certainty is to demand something you can never have,’ but perhaps Karl would agree that clear, fair and consistently applied operating guidelines for an industry are likely to increase that industry’s chances of commercial success.

The above is advocated by the straight-talking Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the UK’s Mineral Products Association (MPA), when it comes to lobbying the government for support in securing the future well-being of the British construction materials sector.

In a wide-ranging interview with Aggregates Business Europe featured in this issue, Jackson explains why he thinks the British government has taken its eye off the ball in failing to make the link between the need for a secure supply of minerals and mineral products to enable the supply of vitally-needed housing and infrastructure, and the underpinning of wider economic growth.

The frustration and anger over the UK government’s perceived inability to support the British construction materials sector has been channelled in a positive way via a new and industry-led UK Minerals Strategy, being launched at the ‘Living with Minerals 6’ conference organised by the CBI Minerals Group and MPA on 10 July at Church House in Westminster, London.

Jackson, a chartered geologist and scientist with 42 years’ experience working in the quarrying, mining, construction and waste industries in a variety of differing, predominantly senior management roles, wants the UK Minerals Strategy to “galvanise the industry, planners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), other relevant stakeholders and government to act to ensure supplies of over five billion tonnes of minerals and mineral products are secured and properly planned and supplied for the next 25 years.” It is an impassioned rallying call.

This ABE issue’s strong UK focus continues with a comprehensive preview of Hillhead 2018, one of Europe’s biggest quarrying and heavy construction equipment exhibitions, held at Tarmac’s Hillhead Quarry near Buxton, county Derbyshire, England, 26-28 June.

This year’s event will be a record-breaker – topping 500 exhibitors for the first time. Metso, Sandvik, Powerscreen, Terex Finlay, Volvo Construction Equipment, Caterpillar, Kleemann, Doosan, Komatsu, Hyundai, Terex Trucks and Bell Equipment are just some of the leading global OEMs who will have new and latest equipment models on show, with many machines also being put through their paces in the exhibition’s working demonstration area. I’ll be part of an Aggregates Business reporting team seeking out all the key quarrying-related news over what promises to be an action-packed three days.

The quarry profile in this edition of ABE features a major Ukrainian industrial and construction group which managed to successfully install and begin operating a full premium modular crushing and screening plant, including washing equipment, inside four months at one of its flagship stone quarries. The installation in 2013 enabled the group to optimise its ability to meet the huge demand for crushed cubical stone among contractors working on abundant infrastructure projects throughout the country.

Companies in this article