This piece representing an endless pour of concrete has a motorized set of wheels slowly rotating on top. Four wheelbarrows appear to be pouring the foundation corners for a new building. Concrete Progress is a small-scale cornucopia of concrete, with a twisting mixer turning deliriously over its concretized pour. Surrounding it are four wheelbarrows, stuck in the act of filling the corners of a projected structure. The world's uncontrolled production of concrete serves as metaphoric replicant for liberal global capital's universal expansion.
Annual world consumption of concrete now exceeds 3 billion tonnes (3 gigatons). Every tonne of concrete is 10-15% cement, concrete's basic ingredient. Cement is made from calcinated limestone, through a process producing nearly 2/3 tonne of CO2 for every tonne of cement. Twice as much concrete is used worldwide as the total of all other building materials combined. Outside of China, the largest cement companies are the German Heidelberg Group (80 million tonnes; owners of Ocean Cement), and the French group LaFarge (sold 100 million tonnes worldwide in 2007); China produced 1.3 billion tonnes of concrete in 2007, and consumed half the world's total.
Texada Island north of Vancouver ships 6 million tonnes of limestone for cement every year to cement plants on the Fraser River: LeHigh/Heidelberg (1.27 million tonnes/year) on the north bank; LaFarge (1.2 million tonnes/year) on the south.
The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtse River, the world's largest hydroelectric project, will consume 60 million tonnes of concrete.