Page 1: Introduction
Aggregate minerals are an important resource and their use is essential to national prosperity. They are vital for building new or improved housing, hospitals, schools, factories, roads and leisure facilities. Everything from a garden path to the Channel Tunnel. The processing of aggregates also provides materials for a whole range of non-construction uses: in agriculture, water purification, medicines, paint, toiletries, paper, plastics and steel making. Mineral working can have a significant effect on the landscape and on the living conditions of the people. It is essential that the industry operates to high environmental standards and manages its operations in a manner which minimises their impact on the environment. Business managers have to take these matters seriously as public awareness and concern has significantly increased over the last decade.
Companies are judged on the achievement of their “traditional” business objectives, such as return on investment, growth, market share etc. and now on their environmental performance and this is often looked for in specific statements, objectives and strategies set by a company. It is not only environmental campaigning groups or concerned consumers who realise the importance of the environment. Research has shown that three-quarters of managers feel that more emphasis should be placed on these issues. Where does this attitude spring from? There are a number of important influences and these include UK and EU environmental legislation, public opinion, pressure groups, influence of employees’ families and friends, the company’s own sense of social responsibility and, last but not least, market pressure from customers and end-users. These pressures are expected to grow, so a well managed company should prepare itself to respond to the concerns and take appropriate action.
The RMC Group has become the world’s largest producer of ready mixed concrete, also diversifying into a number of other construction material sectors. It employs the principle of vertical integration to secure raw materials - sand, gravel and crushed rock - required to sustain the production of ready mixed concrete and other added value finished products, such as concrete blocks, paving and asphalt and macadams for road construction.
RMC operates in Europe, Israel and the United States. In recent years the reunification of Germany and the restructuring of Eastern Europe has brought about considerable expansion for the Group in the core business of concrete and aggregates and in cement, the material that when combined with aggregates forms concrete. In the UK, RMC is organised into a number of divisions, the two largest represent the core or main line business activities of aggregate extraction and processing i.e. quarrying and the production of ready mixed concrete and other, added value products.
The Roadstone activities of the RMC Group are concerned with the production and processing of crushed rock, much of which will be used for road construction and maintenance. A significant proportion of this output will be used in the manufacture of macadams and asphalt - the materials used for the upper layers and surfacing of all types of roads and pavements.
At present, RMC operates 30 hard rock quarries and 58 bituminous coating plants. Geologically speaking, hard rock such as limestone, granite and gritstone occur to the north and west of a line running from the Wash to Dorset. All of the company’s hard rock quarrying takes place in these areas of England, Wales and Scotland. The coating plants are large mixing units where the rock or stone is combined with bitumen and other components to produce road surfacing materials. These plants are either situated on a materials source i.e. a quarry, or close to the country’s principal market areas, the major towns and cities.