Note: *This category includes potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, vegetables, straw and hay, and biomass from fishing and animal grazing.
Source: Authors' calculation from UK Office of National Statistics, UK Forestry Commission, British Geological Survey and UK Department of Trade and Industry.
the highest domestic iron ore extraction ever, 18.1 million tons per year. Nevertheless, the UK mining sector faced strong declines from the mid-1960s on and nearly closed, with only around 0.6 million tons ores extracted yearly since 1980-85.
Clay extraction (for the production of bricks) was traditionally high in the UK, around 30 million tons yearly until the 1970s. A period of sharp decline followed. In recent years (1995-7), clay extraction was 12.9 million tons yearly. The aggregate of minerals for industrial use is similar to that of clay. In the late 1990s, industrial mineral extraction was around 14.7 million tons yearly. More or less the same trend is seen in gypsum and anhydrite, with salt at a still lower level.
For massive minerals used in construction activities (sand, gravel and crushed stone) the story is similar. Starting at a level of 30 million tons before and during the war, the domestic use of construction minerals grew explosively to reach 140 million tons of crushed stone and 120 million tons of sand and gravel around 1975, four times the original level. This was followed by a decade of sharp decline up to 1985 and then a short phase of resurgence, when both aggregates reached the level of 1975 in the period 1985-90. From then on, use of crushed stone and of sand and gravel, which were previously linked, moved in different directions. Crushed stone stabilized around 145 million tons yearly, whereas sand and gravel consumption has recently fallen to around 95 million tons. This is mainly due to new extraction sites for crushed stones on the Scottish coast, which largely produce for export.
Fossil fuels extraction has been a dominant feature of the UK industrial landscape. Here we must distinguish between two phases, the coal era and the more recent regime when natural gas and crude oil started to play a major role and finally replaced coal to a large extent. Coal was the main energy source for the UK economy until 1960. What followed has been a journey on a roller coaster. Starting between 1955 and 1959, the descent began, somewhat cushioned since 1970-74, but steady. Currently, coal output amounts to 50 million tons per year. Clearly, production declined even before domestic (North Sea) extraction of natural gas and crude oil became important. Natural gas extraction started in 1968. Crude oil pumping began on a large scale in 1976, shortly after the first oil crisis.
Domestic (UK) fossil fuel output began a resurgence in 1975, which lasted until 1983 (see Table 26.3). The year 1984 experienced a sharp decline due to miners' strikes. Although output recovered somewhat, the late 1980s and also the early 1990s were periods of further decline, the lowest level occurring in 1994 (201 million tons). In the year 1997, domestic extraction of all fossil fuels was 249 million tons.
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