Global demand for sand and aggregates to grow 45% by 2060

Encouragement to use gravel sand and aggregates is increasing, boosting the heavy construction, quarrying and mining equipment industry

Consumption of gravel, sand and aggregates for construction has a promising long-term horizon in several countries. According to a study published by Leiden University in Netherlands, global demand for sand is expected to increase by 45% by mid-2060, leading to a shortage of this material. As a result, they are encouraging greater use of alternatives such as gravel sand, slag, aggregates, demolition waste and crushed concrete mixed with cement.

In Brazil, the performance of aggregates sector has been gradually improving, after experiencing, on 2017, its largest decline in ten years, when demand reached 497 million tons. On 2022, this market has supplied 640 million tons of aggregates, of which 374 million were sand and 266 million, were gravel. According to Fernando Valverde, president of National Association of Aggregate Producers for Construction (ANEPAC), the outlook for 2023 is 3% growth. “Aggregates industry in Brazil has about 3,100 companies producing sand and gravel. Last year, this sector closed at R$34 billion,” he says.

Daniel Debiazzi Neto, president of São Paulo State Crushed Stone Mining Industry Association (Sindipedras), adds that specifically in this state, this market reached a sales volume of just over 63 million tons last year. “By 2023, projection is to reach 95 million tons of sand and 65 million tons of crushed stone,” says Daniel.

Stimulating equipment sales

With quarries performing favorably, the outlook is optimistic for those who sell equipment for the sector. Mário Miranda, coordinator of the Sobratema study of Brazilian construction equipment market, points out that sales of all-terrain vehicles should reach 70 units in 2023, an 11% increase regarding the 63 delivered last year. “We noted an expectation of renewal in the fleet of this type of equipment this year,” he says.

For now, equipment manufacturers and suppliers are moving to offer good options and strategies to increase their market share. Volvo, for example, has just launched the R60 rigid truck with a capacity of up to 54 tons. According to Marcelo Magalhães, head of strategic accounts at Volvo CE, Brazil is going through a period in which projects that were previously paralyzed are now coming to fruition.

“This increases demand for different types of machines, including rigid trucks. We are optimistic, not only about the new R60, but also about the market potential for entire line of Volvo rigid trucks,” says Marcelo, adding that the new vehicle joins the company’s family of rigid trucks, which also includes the R70D, with a capacity of up to 65 tons, and R100E, up to 95 tons, in Brazil.

Mobile crushing segment has also had a good performed, according to Bernardo Gomes, consultant for Wirtgen Group’s Kleemann and Surface Miner lines in Brazil “We expect an increase in 2023, both from the rental sector and from end users (aggregates, mining and construction and demolition waste processing),” he says. For him, the main markets likely to demand this type of machine are mining, which has an interesting volume of sales abroad, and civil engineering, with work on railways, highways and airports, subway expansions and resurfacing, among others.

Crushing and screening

Superior Industries is investing significant capital to manufacture a complete line of equipment for aggregates industry in Brazil. Company will manufacture the complete line of cone, jaw and impact crushers, vibrating screens and feed chutes in a new facility at its headquarters in the city of Rafard (SP), with a production area dedicated to manufacturing of this equipment. In the last eight years, these facilities have doubled in size due to successive increase in demand for belt conveyors, telestakers and components.

Danilo Bibancos, Executive Director of Superior Industries do Brasil, says that two more buildings are currently being constructed on site to house entire operation, which should increase capacity by approximately 40%. “We currently produce belt conveyors and their components, equipment that has made Superior well known in Brazilian market and has a strong capillarity in mining companies, quarries and aggregate producers,” he explains.

According to Danilo, jaw crushers are already in manufacturing process and cone crushers will be commissioned by the end of third quarter of 2023. Screens and vibrating chutes will then go into production. As a result, Superior will supply complete plants to Brazilian market and export to countries in Latin America and North America.

“Superior is expanding its presence in all Brazilian regions, providing trained and qualified professionals or technical support units to respond whenever the need arises. We believe that Brazil is a driving force for global development in coming decades, and we want to contribute to this,” says Bibancos.

In April, Metso inaugurated the expansion of its Sorocaba (SP) factory to meet market demand for larger equipment, especially screens. As published in M&T – Mercado e Tecnologia, the expansion has increased factory area from 1,800 sqm to 3,500 sqm and is expected to be fully operational by end of this year. Investment will increase capacity to 500 units per year, including equipment such as Ultra Fine Series and BSE Series high performance screens (known as banana screens), which are part of company’s Planet Positive sustainable production strategy.

“These investments will strengthen our position in South America by offering more sustainable, high-quality screening solutions with competitive delivery times and in a safe and energy-efficient manner,” says Eduardo Nilo, Company’s President for South America, which has been renamed Metso.

According to Eduardo Freire, Vice President of the Screening Products Area for Americas, the focus on these products takes into account that most of projects currently being developed in Brazil require 12- and 14-foot equipment. “This change in equipment weight meant that we needed greater lifting capacity. That’s why, in addition to the number of machines produced, we are also expanding our lifting capacity, which can now reach 120 tons,” he says.

Intelligent screening

With the advent of Mining 4.0, the evolution of the mining industry is being driven by digital technologies and advanced connectivity, but equipment and components must have the right characteristics for automation and IoT projects to deliver the expected results. Bearing this in mind, Lantex has been constantly researching development of new screens in line with Mining 4.0 standards.

In particular, at screening stage, they must consist of operating modules that deliver efficiency and performance. The right raw material must contain new polymer and elastomer compounds, and distribution layouts and geometric shapes of meshes must be appropriate to ensure that results are actually achieved.

“We have seen some mining companies introduce the concept of smart or connected screens, where companies install sensors and monitoring devices,” explains Vitor Diniz, technical support manager at Lantex do Brasil. According to him, these sensors can collect real-time data on screen performance, such as feed rate, screening efficiency and wear.

Diniz adds that Lantex produces screens with different material compositions, with appropriate and suitable characteristics for companies to achieve desired results, and will soon have a structure adapted for installing Mining 4.0 equipment. “Gains in efficiency, safety and productivity in these operations are surprising, but we always send our specialists to get to know the client’s project, its characteristics and objectives, in order to recommend the appropriate screens,” he says.

By: Santelmo Camilo