Mineral Products Association calls on government for public investment as aggregate and cement sales remain 'extremely low'

Sales of construction materials including cement and ready mixed concrete fell significantly year-on-year in the three months to September, reflecting the industry’s continued slump, according to the Mineral Products Association.

The body’s latest figures show the sales volume of aggregate and cement was down by 20% in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2008. Ready mixed concrete slumped by 26% and asphalt by 17%.

The declines were less severe than the previous quarter, when sales of ready mixed concrete, for example, were down 37% on the previous year. However, the Mineral Products Association (MPA) said the figures indicated the market was still operating at “extremely low” levels.

Simon van der Byl, director of public policy at the MPA called on the government to reverse the policy of cutting public investment by 50% in the coming pre-budget report.

He said: “There are huge amounts of spare resources available in the construction industry and supply chain and parts of our infrastructure with outstanding backlogs of work, such as highway maintenance – now is precisely the time to get on with this type of work.”