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First Look - April 2015

AGG1 Rocks Baltimore

This year’s show featured record registered attendance of more than 7,600, an increase of more than 1,000 over the previous record and 26 percent over the last edition of the shows; registrants came from all 50 states, 9 of the 10 Canadian provinces and more than 50 other countries.

New Fracking Laws Challenged by Industry

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell released final standards that she said will support “safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing on public and American Indian lands,” but industry interests immediately filed a lawsuit.

VantaCore Drives NRP Revenues

Natural Resource Partners L.P. reported 2014 revenues and other income of $399.8 million compared to $358.1 million for 2013. The increase in revenues was principally due to contributions from the VantaCore construction aggregates business.


Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, on March 16 addressed the National Sand, Stone and Gravel Association’s 2015 Convention in Baltimore. Main said that MSHA is stepping up enforcement, looking hard at conditions that caused 38 fatalities, last year, and “we are asking the industry to do the same. We are continuing our outreach and education, including ‘walk and talks’ with miners and operators and sharing information with the industry on the deaths and the best practices to prevent them. During the first week in February, as the NSSGA joined us at stakeholder meetings, we were increasing these efforts.”


An estimated 317 Mt of crushed stone was produced and shipped for consumption in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2014, an increase of 9 percent compared with that of the same period of 2013. The estimated annual output of crushed stone produced for consumption in 2014 was 1.27 Gt, an increase of 8 percent compared with that of 2013, according to USGS Crushed Stone Commodity Specialist Jason Willett.

  • The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced that construction spending during January 2015 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $971.4 billion, 1.1 percent (±1.2 percent) below the revised December estimate of $982.0 billion. The January figure is 1.8 percent (±1.6 percent) above the January 2014 estimate of $954.6 billion.
  • Total construction put-in-place (CPIP) for 2015 is predicted to grow 8 percent according to the latest report from FMI. This supports earlier FMI predictions that CPIP will top $1 trillion in 2015, something the market has not seen since 2008. This indicates that the economy is on track for a resilient recovery.
  • Sales of newly built, single-family homes rose 7.8 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 539,000 units from an upwardly revised January reading, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the highest sales pace since February 2008.


WTI crude oil futures price: 3/24/2015: $47.51/bbl, up $4.05 from week earlier; down $52.09 from year earlier.

Natural gas futures price: 3/24/2015: $2.786/mmBtu, down $0.069 from week earlier; down $1.490 from year earlier.

Retail gasoline price: 3/23/2015: $2.457/gal., up $0.004 from week earlier; down $1.092 from year earlier.

Crude oil inventories: 3/20/2015: 466.7 mmbbl, up 8.2 mmbbl from week earlier; up 84.2 mmbbl from year earlier.

Weekly coal production: 3/14/2015: 18.507 million tons, up 1.027 million tons from week earlier; down 1.371 million tons from year earlier.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration