The manufacture of cement and concrete products uses processes such as grinding, mixing, kilning, moulding, compaction and curing. Products include:
- Cement, including hydraulic and Portland cement
- Pre-mix or ready-mixed concrete slurry
- Concrete pipe, box culverts, pre-cast panels and bridge components
- Other concrete products, such as pavers.
The sector primarily serves domestic markets and is largely protected from global competitors due to the high freight-to-value cost of the heavy products. Infrastructure and construction activities are the key drivers of demand. The sector is highly consolidated with relatively few, large companies who are investing in current technology and ‘best practice’ manufacturing strategies.
This sector traditionally relies on non-renewable raw materials, such as limestone, clay, iron ore and sand. Significant amounts of coal are used in the calcining kilns to make clinker, which is the major component in cement. Electricity is needed to run the machinery for grinding and blending in order to make the clinker and then to process it with other materials into cement. The sector has high fuel use and heavy transport in the supply chain and to distribute the products.
The mix of sustainability issues will vary between enterprises. The mix might even vary between work processes in a business. It really depends on the context of market pressures, regulations and the steps that make up the daily routine. And how they all interact with the range of social, economic and environmental sustainability issues.
There are many different ways to approach understanding the sustainability issues within a sector. Areas of research might include barriers to entry and expansion into markets, drivers of demand for services and products, geographic location, major markets and suppliers, technology and workforce demographics and skills profile.
Sources of information about the sector
Employment and occupations
IBIS World Industry Research Reports
IBIS World Industry Research Reports can be purchased individually or as a subscription. For this sector they include:
- C2631 Cement and Lime Manufacturing
- C2633 Concrete Slurry Manufacturing
- C2634 Concrete Pipe and Box Culvert Manufacturing
- C2635 Building Boards, Bricks and Other Concrete Product Manufacturing.