As expected, with about 150 participants, the 4th Con-ference of the Federal German Association of the Gravel and Sand Industry (BKS) was the first highlight of the branch this year. In his opening statement BKS President Michael Schulz (Fig.) referred to the first indicators of an end to the crisis. However, this first overall economic optimism does not apply to the construction and building materials industry and in particular not to the gravel and sand branch. In this sector flanking government measures are still needed, especially as regards new buildings. The lectures on the first day were reports on application-oriented fields of research (non-destructive testing by means of X-ray CT, ASR, fine-grained concretes in practice), operational planning, materials, and control systems.
The topics on the second day were raw materials, environment and sustainability. They started with a round of discussions: „Raw material securing as task for the future – resource conservation come what may?“ with the result: Natural raw materials will always be needed. Recycling is an important component but has its immanent limits. As regards aggregates, this limit amounts to about 10 % of a total production in line with demand, which has already been achieved in Germany for years. However, the demand for raw materials cannot be “prescribed” but has to result from a raw material awareness of society developed on the basis of a frank discussion. The final highlight was the award ceremony for the German Sustainability Prize for Gravel and Sand under the patronage of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Protection of Lower Saxony, Hans-Heinrich Sander. The prizewinners are:
• Hölskens GmbH & Co. KG, Wesel
• Quarzwerke GmbH, Frechen
• Kieswerk Ernst Müller GmbH & Co. KG, Lügde-Rischenau
• Rheinische Baustoffwerke GmbH, Bergheim
• EUROQUARZ GmbH, Dorsten
• Kieswerke Jagel, Selk
The next conference Kies + Sand kompakt will again take place at the “Altes Rathaus” in Hanover from 8th to 9th February 2011.