TRADE IN MARBLE AND GRANITE PICKS UP
The turnover of the industry that manufactures and sells granite and marble exceeds 2.5 times the output of diamonds in the world. Spain is the biggest producer of granite, while Italy is the No1 marble manufacturer. Several more coutries could be added to these two, but with a considerably smaller volume of exports. Concerning granite these are Egypt, Brazil and the Ukraine, and regarding marble these are Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Portugal. The USA and the Arab countries are the most serious buyers of lining stones, whose prices are negotiated, depending on the quality and the degree of polishing. Cararian marble is the most expensive and valuable. Its price reaches USD1,200 per 1 polished sq. m. Imports of marble into Russia rose significantly in 2003. One third of the consumption there is covered by import, although the State has huge deposits of good-quality material, mainly granite. In the last dozen of years many European countries among which Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, began large-scale reconstruction of roads and streets, replacing the asphalt and concrete encasement by granite pavement. Bulgaria also produces granite pavement, but it is not widely used in the construction of local road thoroughfares. A paving stone presently costs BGN1.20-1.60, depending on the size, and the buyers are mainly building contractors of one-family houses and private residences.