Abstract Aggregates constitute the biggest branch of mining by production volume and the second in value, after the sector of fossil fuels. Their close connection with the construction industry places them among the most used materials worldwide, second only to water. Despite its significance, the sector suffers from the non-systematic register of production data, resulting in weakness to study the main features affecting the sector’s structure and future capacity. The paper focuses on the aggregates production in 26 European countries. Data from available sources are gathered and combined for a 10-year period (1997–2006), as an effort to provide a clear view of the major attributes of this vital industrial sector. Through a thorough analysis, the main drivers in aggregates production are revealed and existing correlations and trends are identified. New findings are also presented, for example the significance of GDP from construction and the strong connection of aggregates production per capita with the residential building sector.