Aggregates

Aggregates include crushed stone, gravel, and sand. The production process centres around quarrying, preparing, and sorting the raw material and into specific quality products. Aggregates are mainly used in the manufacturing of concrete, concrete products, and asphalt, as well as for roads and rail track beds.

Aggregates are either extracted from fluvial deposits, as is the case for natural sand and gravel, or quarried from igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary rock deposits. Examples of suitable rock types are granite, quartzite, and limestone. These raw materials are then hauled to a processing plant where they are crushed, classified, shaped, and washed to create different high quality product mixes.

Holcim is committed to the highest standards of health and safety, and strives to minimise the environmental impact of all our operations by reducing emissions and energy and water consumption.  Proven process design, highly competent staff, and standard operating procedures ensure the smooth extraction of raw materials, production of final products, and dispatch to customers. Upon depletion of the aggregate reserves, the site is often rehabilitated.




Aggregates business at Holcim

There is sustained growth in the construction industry around the world. This is driving demand for aggregates as an end product or as a raw material for other construction materials such as concrete, asphalt, or concrete products, including bricks, blocks, pavers, and a multitude of precast products. Holcim supplies aggregates in many countries across the globe. We supply major high demand markets as well as organically growing and developing the aggregates business in emerging markets.


Consolidated key figures for aggregates in 2014
Aggregates plants 363
Sales of aggregates in million t 153.1
Net sales in million CHF 2,404
Operating profit in million CHF 214
Personnel 5,722
   
Consolidated sales for aggregates 2014 per region1
Asia Pacific 24.8 million t
Latin America 7.5 million t
Europe 73.1 million t
North America 45.7 million t
Africa Middle East 2.0 million t
 



Aggregate Product Description

Although aggregate classification varies by country and region, it is normally split into three categories:

  • primary (natural)
  • secondary (by products of industrial processes)
  • recycled (reprocessed materials used in construction)

 

At Holcim, these categories are then divided into in the following size classifications:

  • Coarse aggregates
    Materials that typically range between 4 and 75 mm in size.
  • Fine aggregates
    Materials that typically range from 0 to 4 mm and sometimes to 9 mm in size.
  • Base materials
    Continuous graded or blended materials that provide superior compaction and/or drainage characteristics.
  • Specialty materials
    Materials that have other industrial applications, such as rocks with sizes greater than 100 mm, used for gabion or armour stone as well as fillers, natural fertilizers, filter materials, and railroad ballast, to name only a few.




Proper size gradation is one of a number of important requirements of high quality aggregates

Other requirements include:

  • correct particle shape
  • cleanliness and durability
  • resistance to weathering and chemicals

 

Holcim, through disciplined quality control, provides high quality aggregates that contribute to building better and safer infrastructure, buildings, and homes. We strive to offer exceptional value for our customers.

 

Examples of sustainable development within our aggregates operations include:

  • Quarry and pit restoration
    innovative and award-winning uses of quarry fines, landscaping, and water management to build natural habitats and recreational areas
  • Quarry and pit refill
    closely managed refill of mined out areas to permit further development of the area and reduce the amount of material that would otherwise occupy waste dump areas
  • Sand substitution
    use of manufactured sand in place of limited natural sands
  • Recycling
    use of recycled aggregates for various applications, including road base materials

 

Holcim also promotes the use of secondary and recycled aggregates. The selective use of these materials helps to extend the duration of natural aggregate deposits and to reduce the amount of materials unnecessarily sent to landfill.

It also enables Holcim to sustainably maximise the value of every tonne of natural resources mined.

 


Aggregates solutions and projects

Holcim aims to be the company of choice in aggregates. In order to meet customer needs Holcim is not simply a materials supplier - we provide complete solutions.

 

Holcim signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012 with the International Union for Conservation of Nature to responsibly restore an abandoned quarry in Chekka. This project both improves the environment of the local community and serves as a model for future sustainable development projects in the country.

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AIUS is supporting rescue dogs in their vital urban search and rescue work by hosting FEMA Canine Certification at their Littleton site. Take a trip to the Aggregate Industries US (AIUS) Littleton quarry facilities in Massachusetts and you may see dogs instead of diggers picking their way across the stones. It is not aggregates which they are looking for, however, but people, as the dogs test their ability to search for human ‘survivors’ buried under specially designed piles of rubble.

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As part of its progressive rehabilitation program in the Greater Montreal Area, Demix Agrégats, a division of Holcim Canada, has traditionally accepted tonnes of soil deposits every year, primarily from customers and partners in the excavation business, in order to keep it from ending up in landfills and to provide additional value to its customers and stakeholders.

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