2023 is the starting year for a new journey to comprehensively build a modern socialist country. It is the year of economic recovery and growth after three years of pandemic. It is also the 45th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up and the 10th anniversary of the “Belt and Road” initiative. This year, faced with the severe situation of insufficient market demand, overcapacity of aggregates in some areas, and falling production and price, people in the Chinese aggregates industry worked hard and moved forward with continuous innovation and courage. New progress and results have been achieved in the construction of ecological civilization, promotion of industrial policies, scientific and technological innovation, standard system construction, new concepts and new models, domestic and international exchanges and cooperation, and the fight against illegal sand extraction.
China Aggregates Association reviewed the development of the industry in 2023 and chose iconic events of the year. Check the below 15 iconic events of Chinese aggregates industry in the year 2023.
First, Cultural inheritance and green ecology are still the key words for the high-quality development of the aggregates industry.
During General Secretary Xi Jinping’s trip to Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province in October, he learned about the ecological restoration of the Yangtze River coastline in the Jiujiang City section of the Yangtze River National Cultural Park and inspected sand and gravel for emergency flood control; he learned about the transformation and upgrading of petrochemical enterprises and the green development of Sinopec Jiujiang Branch, and conveyed the message that we attach great importance to and have high expectations for the inheritance and promotion of culture and the green development of industrial ecology. How to balance eco-environment protection, regional cultural integration, and corporate benefits is a question that every aggregates producing and equipment manufacturer company must face and consider.
Second, Multiple government ministries issued documents to ensure the rational exploration and utilization of aggregates resources.
The Notice on Standardizing and Improving the Management of Sand and Gravel Mining issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources guides local governments throughout the entire process to improve the supply capacity of the aggregates resource from aspects such as scientific planning, mining rights transfer, green exploration, and supervision during and after the exploration, and proposes Avoid unreasonable problems such as using ridge lines to delineate the boundaries and leaving behind residual mountains and slopes after mining. At the same time, the Opinions on Further Strengthening Mine Safety Production issued by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council also clearly stated that aggregates open-pit mines for general construction shall not be demarcated by ridges. This is a major change in the mining method of aggregates mines in our country. It has changed from “vertical cutting” to “horizontal cutting”. From the top design level, it has solved the major safety hazards and later repair problems caused by the unreasonable demarcation of sand and gravel mines in the past. The seventh meeting of the Standing Committee of the 14th National People’s Congress reviewed the draft revision of the Mineral Resources Law for the first time. The revision covers sand and gravel mining exploration, mineral rights transfer, mining land system, comprehensive utilization of resources, ecological restoration and other aspects, which will greatly promote aggregates mining. Rational development and utilization of resources will promote high-quality development of the aggregates mining industry. The Action Plan for Promoting the High-Quality Development of Rail-Water Intermodal Transport (2023-2025) jointly issued by the Ministry of Transport and other five departments will promote the construction of “rail-water” intermodal transport projects on a large scale across the country, which will promote a major change in the transportation mode of the aggregates industry.
Third, The state government takes multiple measures to curb illegal sand mining and quarrying
The Decision of the State Council on Amending and Repealing Some Administrative Regulations issued on August 21, 2023 clearly revised the relevant content of the Regulations on the Management of Sand Mining in the Yangtze River Channel. Among them, the penalties for illegal sand mining have been increased, that is, the maximum fine can be 20 times the value of illegally mined sand and gravel, so as to curb illegal sand mining from the source. The central and local governments are increasingly conducting environmental inspections and punishing illegal sand mining. At the same time, relevant departments at the central and local levels have stepped up their efforts to crack down on illegal sand mining. Four of the five typical cases reported by the latest central environmental protection inspections were related to illegal sand mining. CCTV and local media at all levels also reported on the special operation of illegal sand mining in the Yangtze River to deter and crack down on illegal sand mining on a wider scale in terms of public opinion. Under the current market conditions, cracking down on illegal sand mining is of great significance to protecting the law-abiding and compliant production and operation of aggregates.
Fourth, The state government carries out inspections on the implementation of the two documents
This year is an important time for the release and implementation of Opinions on Promoting the High-Quality Development of the Manufactured Aggregates Industry issued by ten departments, and Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Healthy and Orderly Development of the Aggregates Industry by fifteen departments. A joint inspection team composed of 14 departments including the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology went to companies in 12 provinces to inspect the implementation of documents. China Aggregates Association and industry experts actively cooperated with relevant work and formed an investigation report for submission.
Fifth, The state government attaches great importance to the quality of aggregates products, and the output of high-quality machine-made aggregates has steadily increased.
Aggregate is the largest raw material used in infrastructure construction such as housing construction, roads, bridges, water conservancy and hydropower. It is related to the safety and quality of housing and various projects. The relevant government documents clearly require that proportion of high-quality manufactured sand should be greatly increased. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine attaches great importance to the quality of aggregates products. In accordance with the requirements, China Aggregates Association organized experts to put forward relevant suggestions and measures for aggregates product quality supervision.
High-quality development is the only way for the future development of the aggregates industry. Chinese aggregates companies are now paying more attention to the quality of aggregates products. The quality of machine-made sand and gravel products has significantly improved. The results of the 7th Chinese National Aggregates Products Competition held in 2023 show that the quality of the machine-made sand and gravel products has become increasingly stricter from gradation and particle shape to stone powder and soil content, and the quality is getting better and better. Huaxin Cement has the world's largest limestone high-quality machine-made sand project. It adopts dry sand production. The product has excellent particle shape, gradation, small crushing value, extremely low adsorption and stable performance. It has been promoted and sold in the market and gained lot of recognition.
Sixth, The Ministry of Natural Resources carries out the mid-term evaluation of aggregates in the national mineral resources planning during the “14th Five-Year Plan”
This year is the middle year for the implementation of the 14th Five-Year Plan on National Mineral Resources. The Ministry of Natural Resources asked China Aggregates Association to carry out a mid-term assessment of aggregates. In order to comprehensively, objectively and deeply understand the progress of relevant work, China Aggregates Association conducted on-site investigate 21 machine-made sand and gravel, river sand, sea sand and other production and equipment enterprises for 25 days.
Seventh, Science and technology conference clarify the direction of industrial innovation
The 10th Chinese Aggregates Industry Technology Conference with the theme of “Innovation-driven, Technology-leading, High-quality Development” was opened in Shaoguan, Guangdong province. At the same time, the conference held symposiums, joint meetings, councils, forums, press conferences, promotion meetings, salons, exhibitions, company visits and other activities. 60 industry experts delivered presentations. Hu Youyi, president of China Aggregates Association, proposed the future direction of scientific and technological innovation in the industry. This conference is a national aggregates industry science and technology event jointly held by national association and local governments in China. Live broadcast views exceeded 60,000 times.
Eighth, The 8th China International Aggregates Conference, a barometer of the global aggregates market was successfully held in Shanghai.
The theme of the international conference is “Reacing to changes, rational development, serve building needs and sustainable growth”. Representatives from Europe, Spain, New Zealand, South Korea of Global Aggregate Information Network, as well as heads of relevant departments in China, representatives of industry associations at all levels, scientific research institutes, and leading companies attended the conference. Nearly 100,000 people watched live broadcast. At the same time, activities such as a review of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the China Aggregates Association were held.
Ninth, China's aggregates companies “going global” gains new momentum
At the third Belt and Road International Cooperation Summit Forum, China announced eight actions to support high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. Among them, the construction of the “Belt and Road” three-dimensional interconnection network covers many contents, which are closely related to the aggregates industry. As Chinese domestic demand remains weak, it is an inevitable choice for industry leaders to “go global”. In July this year, China Aggregates Association organized a group to go to New Zealand to attend the GAIN Meeting for exchanges and cooperation with international aggregate industry. And this year, China Construction Western Construction, Shunda Heavy Mining, Northern Heavy Industries and other aggregates producing and equipment manufacturers have made new progress in their international trade business. CAA opened a “Global Aggregates column in its social platform to facilitate domestic enterprises “going global".
Tenth, Nanchang Mineral Systems Group became the first registered stock listed on the main board in the field of aggregates equipment manufacturing
In 2023, another important milestone in the reform and development process of China's capital market - the reform of the stock issuance registration system has been fully implemented. Nanchang Mineral Systems Group Co., Ltd., the vice-president unit of the China Aggregates Association, was officially listed on the main board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, becoming the first registered stock listed on the main board in the field of aggregates equipment manufacturing, stock code: 001360.
Eleventh, Central enterprises, state-owned enterprises and private enterprises accelerate the integration and layout of aggregates business
Relevant central enterprises, state-owned enterprises and private enterprises such as building materials, water conservancy, hydropower, metallurgy, engineering construction, urban construction and urban investment, which have been involved in the aggregate business in the past few years, have begun to integrate the aggregates business. China Resources Cement and China Construction Western Construction have signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement focusing on cement, aggregates and other businesses. China National Building Materials, China Power Construction and Energy China have officially announced their cooperation. The three companies have a combined sand and gravel reserve of over 11 billion tons and an annual production capacity of over 700 million tons. Conch Group and Chengyuan Group have achieved coordinated growth through integration and empowerment around building materials products such as aggregates and cement. Facing the current sand and gravel market with “insufficient demand and falling production and price”, the combination of leading companies may change the future market competition pattern.
Twelveth, Mining rights trading is still all the rage, but failed auctions, terminations, and suspensions occur from time to time
In the past two years, although there are more and more areas with excess sand and gravel production capacity, the sand and gravel mineral rights trading market in 2023 is still hot. Among them, the active trading areas including Guangdong, Zhejiang, Hubei, Jiangsu, Hunan, Anhui, etc., attracted much attention, especially for the mining rights of granite mines for construction in the Hexi-Yinshan mining area in Ganyu District, Lianyungang City, Jiangsu Province, with a transfer amount of up to 5.94 billion yuan. At the same time, due to various reasons, sand and gravel mining rights have begun to be unsold, terminated, and suspended. Among them, the two major mining areas of Yunfu Guanjiakeng and Dashiling in Guangdong were suspended before the transaction due to their huge resource reserves and production scale. This had attracted widespread attention in the industry about the future trend of Guangdong's mining industry, and also made industry insiders full of worries about the future high-quality development of the sand and gravel aggregate industry, which is in a period of profound adjustment.
Thirteenth, New technologies and new products continue to emerge, and innovation results have won numerous awards
The open-pit mine compressed air energy storage (CAES) transportation-drilling and blasting-crushing green production technology uses compressed air resources, has no explosive and dangerous chemicals, and has low vibration characteristics. It can save 30% of energy in the mining rock drilling process and is green and low-carbon. To a certain extent, it solves problems such as blasting vibration and secondary hazards, blasting powder and resource waste, safe distance control and land occupation, immigration relocation, noise emissions and cost pressure in mining. It has been used in large stone mines and water conservancy and hydropower projects.
The aggregate yard air film + photovoltaic integration technology created the first Intelligent and environmentally friendly photovoltaic air film with the combination of photovoltaic new energy technology and environmentally friendly air film technology, overcoming technical problems such as the lightweight and flexibility of solar photovoltaic panels and the integration of environmentally friendly air film. It is cost effective and can reduce carbon emission. It fills the industry shortcomings and international gaps of air film products and can be widely used in sand and gravel, electric power, steel, chemical industry, cement, ports, cultural and sports venues, laboratories and other fields.
The plunger pump independently developed by the sand and gravel equipment company adopts sandblasting + spraying technology for the main body. The cylindrical diaphragm structure isolates the contact between the material and the ceramic seal. It features small material wear, low noise, long service life of seal, and intelligent switching between high and low hydraulic pumps, high efficiency, strong self-priming ability (3-6 meters), etc. It can be applied in machine-made sand and gravel, construction solid waste disposal, mining solid waste treatment, municipal sewage, mining, chemical industry, medicine, printing and dyeing, electroplating, and petrochemical, etc.
Eight technical equipment, including the mobile construction waste crushing and screening station, were selected into the “National Catalogue of Advanced Applicable Process Technology Equipment for Comprehensive Utilization of Industrial Resources (2023 Edition)”. The short-process, low-energy consumption and high-quality aggregate complete equipment technology was selected into the “Catalogue of Major Environmental Protection Technology and Equipment Encouraged by the State (2023 Edition)”. A number of scientific and technological achievements have passed the evaluation. Among them, the intelligent detection technology of key performance indicators of construction sand has reached the international leading level, and the research and development of low-modulus pellet countercurrent sand washing equipment and technology has reached the international advanced level. “Research on Quality Control and Standard Development of Machine-made Sand and Gravel Aggregate for High-Performance Concrete” won the third prize in the Science and Technology Public Welfare Category of the China Building Materials Federation and China Ceramic Society Building Materials Science and Technology Awards. Changjiu Shenshan Limestone Mine Project of China Power Construction Group East China Survey and Design Institute Co., Ltd. won the best factory-type innovative design results in the first Building Materials Industrial Design Innovation Activity. (Factory Category) and the Corner Wall Lamp and Romance Series Wall Lamps of Beijing Yugojueyi Cultural and Creative Technology Co., Ltd. won and Excellent Innovative Design Achievements (Product Category) Awards. The scientific and technological innovation achievements of companies such as Nanchang Mineral Systems Co., Ltd., Zhengzhou Dingsheng Engineering Technology Co., Ltd., Shanghai Unitoon Information Technology Co., Ltd., Guangzhou Shunxing Quarry Co., Ltd., Zhengzhou Yifan Machinery Co., Ltd., and Quangong Machinery Co., Ltd. have also won relevant local awards.
Fourteenth, The standard system has been further improved
According to the "National Standards Management Measures" that was implemented from March 1, 2023, recommended national standards such as "Sand for Construction" and "Pebbles and Gravel for Construction" will be encouraged to be adopted in infrastructure construction. The recommended industry standard "Highway Engineering Cement Concrete Manufactured Sand" was officially released by the Ministry of Transport. China Aggregates Association Group Standards "Technical Regulations for the Application of Recycled Sand Powder in Waste Concrete", "Self-Cleaning Screens for Mine Anti-clogging", "Guidelines for the Classification and Application of Recycled Sand Powder", "Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) Green Low-Carbon Wet Mining Rock Drilling Production Line Construction Standards" passed the review. The draft and preparation instructions for the industry standard "Technical Requirements for Dry Sand Making Production Line" have been completed. The compilation of group standards such as "Credit Rating Evaluation Standards for the Aggregates Industry", "Technical Specifications for Manufactured Sand and Gravel Dust Removal Engineering", and "Technical Specifications for Air Film Sealing of Sand and Gravel Aggregate Yards" have been launched.
Fifteenth, Green ecological development achieve great results
In order to promote the establishment of green bases, and implement the industry development goal of "cultivating more than 100 intelligent, green, high-quality, and well-managed enterprises", China Aggregates Association continues to carry out the annual Large-scale Green aggregates production base selection and green factory assessment work. Ten companies including Wuxue Minben Southeast Mining Co., Ltd. and Shandong Jigang Environmental Protection New Materials Co., Ltd. were selected as large green sand and gravel production bases in China's aggregates industry in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Seven companies including Gansu Huajian New Materials Co., Ltd., were awarded "Green Factories in the Aggregate Industry". The Ministry of Natural Resources' "Notice on Further Strengthening the Construction of Green Mines (Draft for Comment)" solicits opinions from the public, changing the positioning of green mine construction from demonstration leadership to comprehensive promotion. The green and ecological development of the sand and gravel industry continues to advance.
Outlook for 2024
The just-convened Central Economic Work Conference laid out the general tone for economic work in 2024: seeking progress while maintaining stability. We must persist in seeking progress while maintaining stability, promoting stability through advancement.
One of the important measures taken by the government to promote economic recovery is to accelerate infrastructure construction. The Central Economic Work Conference specifically proposed to accelerate the construction of affordable housing, the construction of public infrastructure for "both leisure and emergency use", and the transformation of urban villages. Aggregates materials are an important support for infrastructure construction and the construction of the "three major projects", which has brought new opportunities for the stabilization and recovery of the aggregates industry. As the aggregates industry enters a period of profound adjustment, enterprises must see through the current economic situation, clearly understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and seek certainty amidst uncertainty so that they can survive and grow better.