Mineral products sector vital to Welsh economy
New report published on the economic significance of the mineral products industry to Wales
THE mineral products industry is vital to the Welsh economy and essential to the delivery of Welsh Government policies for infrastructure development, regeneration and supporting priority sectors such as construction, tourism and energy, according to a new report prepared by the Welsh Economy Research Unit of Cardiff Business School.
The research, which was funded by MPA Wales, the British Marine Aggregate Producers Association and The Crown Estate, found that the mineral products sector generates £650 million in sales/turnover and directly employs around 3,800 people at 190 sites located across Wales, with the majority of these representing full-time positions.
A further 2,000 people are estimated to be indirectly employed in other parts of the economy supporting the sector, generating further turnover of £232 million through purchasing linkages.
Collectively, the sector is estimated to contribute £324 million in GVA.
While these figures are significant in their own right, the research highlights that the mineral products sector is a key supplier of resources and products to downstream industry users, particularly the construction sector (£3 billion GVA), which represents 6% of the Welsh economy and provides 88,000 jobs.
Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the Mineral Products Association, commented: ‘During an address to our annual conference in 2014, the First Minister highlighted that the mineral products sector represented one of the last heavy industries that remain in Wales, and with recent announcements concerning the difficulties in the steel industry, the contribution made by our sector takes on even greater significance.
‘This report underlines just how important the mineral products industry is to the Welsh economy, both for the local employment opportunities that it provides and also as a foundation for the delivery of a range of Welsh Government policies around economic growth and sustainable development.
‘Consequently, the quality of people’s lives are directly influenced by the housing, schools, hospitals, access to road and rail connections, and other buildings and infrastructure that are built and maintained with mineral products produced in Wales.’
The lead author of the report, Prof. Max Munday, commented: ‘Our research has shown that the mineral products industry is so embedded in the Welsh economy that its significance extends far beyond its sectoral boundary. The presence of local resources and product manufacturers is important for sustaining a successful Welsh construction industry.’
He added: ‘The mineral products sector would appear to have the characteristics to be separately identified as a ‘key sector’, given its record of relatively high labour productivity and the fact that it provides critical inputs to some of the key sectors already identified by the Welsh Government.’