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Information @ a Glance

General
  • Crushed stone is any type of natural rock that, in order to be mined, has to be first blasted from its natural state in the ground, and then processed (crushed and screened). The most common types of stone processed into crushed stone include limestone and dolomite, granite,  and traprock. Smaller amounts of marble, slate, sandstone, quartzite, and volcanic cinder are also used.

Production

  • Crushed stone makes up 85 percent of aggregate production; construction sand and gravel, about 15 percent. North Carolina is the eighth largest crushed stone producing state in the U.S. Aggregate is produced from about 135 crushed stone quarries and about 500 sand and gravel  sites throughout the state. Crushed stone, sand and gravel plants account for 85 percent of all permitted mining operations. There is  aggregate mining in 80 of North Carolina's 100 counties. 
  • The average production life of a crushed stone quarry is 40 to 50 years or more. Sand and gravel deposits are typically worked out in much shorter time. Crushed stone Production operation is used to make concrete and asphalt roads, concrete for homes and office buildings, and is used in a wide variety of erosion control projects. Aggregate operations are relatively long lived and are vital to the economic health of communities.
  • Crushed stone is produced in almost every state in the U.S. The type of crushed stone mined from any particular state depends on the general geology and rocks of the state. For instance, crushed limestone and dolomite is typical Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, marble and granite  from Vermont, etc. Even though it is quarried and processed all over the United States, a small number of states account for more than half of  the total crushed stone production. These states, in decreasing order of amount of stone produced, are Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia,  Illinois, Missouri, Ohio,  North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.
  • Major rock types processed by the crushed stone industry include limestone, granite, dolomite, traprock, sandstone, quartz, and quartzite. Minor types include calcareous marl, marble, shell, and slate. Rock and crushed stone products generally are loosened by drilling and blasting and then are loaded by power shovel or front-end loader into large haul trucks that transport the material to the processing operations.

Application & Technology

  • The crushed stone sand products can be used in conjunction with concrete aggregates or by themselves to achieve desired finishes on precast concrete products as well as many other applications where natural stone color is required. Decorative crushed stone chips are available in many different colors and sizes to use as ground cover around homes, offices, etc, in flower beds and around shrubs.
  • Tremendous technological advances in stone crushing have taken place in the post- second world war period to build back the war-torn countries. Modern mechanized construction and the need for high strength concrete and asphalt mixes have bought in new quality standards for aggregates with severe conditions.

Market

  • Crushed stone is a high-volume, low-value commodity. The industry is highly competitive and is characterized by thousands of operations serving local or regional markets. Production costs are determined mainly by the cost of labor, equipment, energy, and water, in addition to the costs of compliance with environmental and safety regulations. These costs vary depending on geographic location, the nature of the deposit, and the number and type of products produced. 
  • Despite having one of the lowest average-per- ton values of all mineral commodities, the constant dollar price of crushed stone has changed relatively little during the past 20 years. As a result of rising costs of labor, energy, and mining and processing equipment, the average unit price of crushed stone increased from $1.58 per metric ton. Increased productivity achieved through increased use of automation and more efficient equipment was mainly responsible for maintaining the prices at this level.
  • Transportation is a major factor in the delivered price of crushed stone. The cost of moving crushed stone from the plant to the market often equals or exceeds the sale price of the product at the plant. Because of the high cost of transportation and the large quantities of bulk material that have to be shipped, crushed stone is usually marketed locally.
  • Some industry is at a critical juncture in the push to find new markets for fine materials. The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates the amount of crushed stone produced in the next 25 years will total slightly more than the quantity produced during the last century. 

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