Unifying mineral products

Clay Technology magazine
19 Jun 2009

A representative body for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, lime, mortar and silica sand industries has been established. The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the result
of a merger between the British Cement Association, the Quarry Products Association and The Concrete Centre.

The aim is to provide a single effective voice for 222 members, who supply around £5bln of essential materials to the UK economy and are the single largest supplier of materials to the UK construction sector, which has been hit severely by the recession.

Chairman Lynda Chase-Gardener says, ‘In these particularly difficult economic conditions, there is a real opportunity for the new organisation to add value to the work of its member companies’.

The MPA will represent the common interests of these sectors to secure and maintain a license to operate, deliver sustainable solutions, help adhere to and tackle legislation, and maintain
and develop new markets.

‘It makes sense to rationalise the interface by having fewer organisations where you have common membership,’ insists MPA’s Acting Chief Executive Nigel Jackson.

He adds, ‘It is fairly new ground even on a European level to bring aggregate, concrete and cement together. It is the right decision at the right time’.

Sourcing solutions

Jackson explains that there are also a number of individual challenges for each constituent sector of MPA.

For cement producers, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is an area of concern. It aims to reduce CO2 emissions by making companies that exceed individual emission targets buy allowances from ‘greener’ ones to help reach EU goals. The MPA wants to ensure ‘that the ETS scheme is implemented along the lines that have been agreed, and does not lead to “carbon leakage” and risk indigenous production,’ says Jackson.

‘Carbon leakage’ refers to an increase in carbon emissions in one country or region as a result of reduction measures in another. This may occur due to relocation of plants from areas where emissions are penalised.

For concrete, Jackson says the key is to promote the sustainable benefits of the building material to architects and specifiers.

While in the aggregates sector, ‘the big issues are the inefficiencies of the planning system and the threat to aggregate supply’.

The MPA is also collaborating with the British Precast Concrete Federation (BPCF).

Chief Executive of BPCF Martin Clarke says, ‘By bringing together our two main materials supply groups – cement and aggregates – we will be able to work closely with the new association on major strategic issues.

‘We have a common interest in ensuring that a viable UK concrete product manufacturing base is in place for the upturn.’

Further information: MPA and BPCF