Procurement of local raw materials forms the basis for the manufacture of cement, and represents an essential component of industrial value creation chains in Germany. The most important base materials in cement include limestone, clay or the naturally occurring mixture of the two, lime marl. Geologically speaking, about 90 per cent of the quarried limestone dates back to the mesozoic (Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic) and is thus between 65 and 250 million years old. In 2018, the German cement industry procured around 43 million tonnes of primary raw materials (see table). Furthermore, approx. 8 million tonnes of alternative raw materials were used to manufacture approx. 34.0 million tonnes of cement. In taking this measure, the German cement industry is making a valuable contribution towards conservation of resources and environmental protection.
The capital-intensive cement industry needs to secure valuable deposits over the long term. Close geographical links between cement production and mining sites is also extremely important. Short routes for supply of raw materials take pressure off of traffic volumes and reduce transport-related emission of pollutants.
Procurement of natural raw materials will continue to form the basis for cement manufacture in future. Use of alternative raw materials can be further increased to a certain extent. However, potential for substitution has already been largely exhausted, and very much depends on the availability of industrial by-products and the high quality requirements placed on cement in the future. According to a study commissioned by Bundesverband Baustoffe - Steine und Erden e.V. on demand for primary and secondary raw materials in the German stone and earth industry, the raw material requirement is expected to increase slightly between now and 2030. The drivers of this development include high demand in the areas of housing and transport infrastructure – two market segments in which an enormous construction backlog has developed over recent years.
A responsible raw materials policy must therefore create reliable framework conditions for sustainable supply of raw materials. This is the only way that companies will be able to obtain the planning and investment security required to continue to be able to cover requirements for top-quality cement-bound building materials in future.