Rock Products - The Leading Voice of the Aggregate Industries.

Highway Construction Jumps in July

highwayconst200x135August 22, 2011 – There was some good news for highway construction in July. According to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, the public works sector in July strengthened 20 percent, in a departure from what has been generally a downward trend during 2011. Highway construction in July jumped 27 percent, boosted by the start of the $575 million Capital Beltway project in northern Virginia.

Read more: Highway Construction Jumps in July

Mineral Information Institute Adds to Teaching Tools

LearningAugust 16, 2011 – You can never have enough sources for good educational programs. The Mineral Information Institute, an affiliate of the SME Foundation, now offers Mining 101. This dynamic program is now posted online and available for educators as a free download. The comprehensive PowerPoint slide show can be found at, along with the accompanying Teachers’ Guide. Designed for K-12 educators, the program addresses topics from exploration and mapping to EIS requirements, sustainability, metallurgy, careers and reclamation and includes products that come from mining.

Read more: Mineral Information Institute Adds to Teaching Tools

USGS Releases Second-Quarter Estimates

usgsAugust 8, 2011 – Jason Willett, crushed stone commodity specialist for USGS, tells Rock Products that preliminary second-quarter production numbers reveal a year-over-year decrease. Crushed stone production decreased 10 percent, while sand and gravel production was down 7 percent. For the first six months of the year, crushed stone production was down 6.1 percent, while sand and gravel production was down 6.8 percent, reflecting industry response to the failure of congress to pass an adequately funded transportation bill. Third-quarter numbers, which cover the critical summer construction months, will be released in the fall.

Manufacturers Bend Romney's Ear

aem2August 4, 2011 – The Association of Equipment Manufacturers and leaders of four equipment-manufacturing companies joined GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at a manufacturing plant in Pataskala, Ohio, to discuss the need for new manufacturing policies that would rebuild deteriorating roads, bridges and highways and help American manufacturers and farmers export their products to new and expanded markets around the world. I'm not sure if he's friends with Rep. John Mica, or others in the House of Representatives responsible for their underfunded infrastructure proposal, but if he is, maybe he could deliver a message: We need an adequately funded highway bill sooner rather than later. It's a matter of safety and national security.

Kudos for Safety

aemlogoAugust 2, 2011 – MSHA released its mid-year fatality report, and the Metal-Nonmetal sector experienced six fatalities in the first half of the year. Even one fatality is too many, but only two of the six were aggregates plants, one at an underground crushed stone operation and another at a sand and gravel plant. There were also numerous near-misses. Despite its reputation as a dangerous industry, mining actually has a lower incidence rate than many other industries deemed safe. Kudos to all aggregates operations working hard for safety. You can find the full report here.