Aggregates Manager

August 2014

Aggregates Manager Digital Magazine

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13 AGGREGATES MANAGER August 2014 MARKETING surfacing as part of its "Every Day Counts" initiative. The FHWA has partnered with AASHTO and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) on a number of projects designed to increase the use of high-friction sur- facing around the United States. Although there were a small number of high-friction surfac- ing projects in 2012 and 2013, a dramatic increase in the number of projects in 2014 and 2015 is expected as state transportation de- partments develop specifications and locate potential project sites. Nearly a dozen states have projects scheduled for 2014 and expect more than double that number for 2015. Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and California are aggressively working on large-scale programs. Texas, Utah, Geor- gia, Alabama, Virginia, and Illinois are well on their way to developing significant high-friction surfacing programs as well. Sourcing calcined bauxite Nearly all calcined bauxite used for road- way surfacing is imported from China and India. In developing the AASHTO Stan- dard Specification for High-Friction Sur- facing, it was decided that refractory-grade calcined bauxite would be required. The single greatest benefit of using refractory- grade calcined bauxite stems from quality control. The material cost for a unique specification would have increased cost and decreased availability. Refractory- grade material has easy-to-access supply chains and creates transparency and acces- sibility through globally available pricing options. Given the foreign sourcing of this mate- rial, some have speculated that the market may not be able to provide sufficient quantities to meet demand. Ken Jones, plant manager at C-E Minerals, in Newell, W.Va., disagrees. "Supply of calcined bauxite should remain strong, and prices are likely to drop over the next few years due to the slowing of global demand for refractory materials." C-E Minerals has al- ready provided calcined bauxite for use in high-friction surfacing. "We did not even know that this market existed until we were approached a couple of years ago," Jones says. "We will certainly be monitor- ing its progress as we attempt to gauge demand." The calcined bauxite is provided in 3,400-pound bags. Most suppliers are having materials shipped to them from Chinese producers processed, bagged, and ready for distribution to customers. Oth- ers are securing raw calcined bauxite and processing the material at their own facili- ties. Price and timing seem to be key driv- ers for U.S. aggregate providers. It takes approximately three to four months for orders to be processed and shipped. Most calcined bauxite is shipped from Chinese producers processed, bagged, and ready for distribution to customers. Calcined bauxite is provided in 3,400-pound bags.

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