USGS Releases 2017 Minerals Yearbook

Production of portland and masonry cement in the United States, excluding Puerto Rico, increased by 2% to 86.4 million metric tons (Mt) in 2017, according to the recently released USGS 2017 Minerals Yearbook. Production in 2017 was 13% lower than the record-high 99.3 Mt in 2005.World production of cement decreased slightly to 4.08 billion metric tons (Gt).

Clinker production increased slightly in 2017 from 75.6 Mt in 2016 to 76.7 Mt, 13% below the record-high production of 88.6 Mt in 2006. Most district-level changes in output were only 0.3 Mt or less. However, in the Missouri district, a nearly 0.9-Mt increase in clinker production reflected higher capacity utilization at several plants.

Overall cement consumption, as measured by sales to domestic final customers, increased by 2.2% to 96.7 Mt from that of 2016, 24% lower than the 2005 record-high consumption of 127.9 Mt. Portland cement sales, based on monthly survey data, increased by 2.2% to 94.3 Mt. Masonry cement sales remained essentially unchanged at 2.4 Mt overall.

In 2017, the 10 leading cement companies were, in descending order of portland cement production:

  • LafargeHolcim Ltd.
  • CEMEX Inc.
  • Lehigh Hanson Inc.
  • Buzzi Unicem USA Inc. (including Alamo Cement Co.)
  • Ash Grove Cement Co.
  • Argos USA Corp.
  • Eagle Materials Inc.
  • CalPortland Co.
  • Martin Marietta Materials Inc.
  • GCC of America Inc.

The U.S. cement industry continued to be heavily consolidated, with 59% of U.S. portland cement production from the top five companies and 79% from the top 10. Of the 10 leading companies, Ash Grove, Eagle Materials and Martin Marietta were the only U.S.-owned companies at yearend. Overall, about 79% of U.S. cement capacity was foreign-owned in 2017.

The average mill net value (price) for cement increased by 5.4% to a record-high $117.00 per metric ton, surpassing the previous record set in 2016. The overall value of sales increased by 7.6% to $11.3 billion, 12% lower than the record high of $12.9 billion set in 2006.

The USGS obtained the data for its 2017 report through the USGS annual canvass of 133 U.S. industrial cement and clinker production facilities and certain independent terminals. Responses were received from 129 facilities, including all U.S. production facilities, a response rate of 97%. Estimates were made for non-respondents from company data or prior reports. The data did not include that of a few importers that did not participate in the surveys, accounting for an estimated 0.5% of additional portland cement sales.

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