Geologic information for aggregate resource planning

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Construction and maintenance of the infrastructure is dependent on such raw materials as aggregate (crushed stone, sand, and gravel). Despite this dependence, urban expansion often works to the detriment of the production of those essential raw materials. The failure to plan for the protection and extraction of aggregate resources often results in increased consumer cost, environmental damage, and an adversarial relation between the aggregate industry and the community.

As an area grows, the demand for aggregate resources increases, and industries that produce these materials are established. Aggregate is a low-cost commodity, and to keep hauling costs at a minimum, the operations are located as close to the market as possible. As metropolitan areas grow, they encroach upon established aggregate operations. New residents in the vicinity of pits and quarries object to the noise, dust, and truck traffic associated with the aggregate operation. Pressure is applied to the local government to limit operation hours and truck traffic.

In addition to encroaching on established aggregate operations, urban growth commonly covers unmined aggregate resources. Frequently urban growth occurs without any consideration of the resource or an analysis of the impact of its loss. The old idea that aggregate resources can be found anywhere is false. New aggregate operations may have to be located long distances from the markets. The additional expense of the longer transport of resources must be passed on to consumers in the community. In many instances, the new deposit is of inferior quality compared with the original source, yet it is used to avoid the expense of importing high-quality material from a more-distant source.

Some governmental, including city, provincial or state, and national, agencies, have enacted regulations to help maintain access to prime aggregate resources. Although regulations have met with variable success, some policy or regulation to protect aggregate resources is worth consideration.

A basic requirement of any aggregate resource policy or regulation is the knowledge of the geographic distribution, volumes, and quality of aggregate resources. This knowledge commonly is obtained through geologic mapping and characterization of aggregate resources. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Decision Support Systems (DSS) provide excellent tools to help present and evaluate the information in a manner that is understandable by public decisionmakers.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Geologic information for aggregate resource planning
DOI 10.1007/978-94-010-0303-2_7
Volume 80
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher Springer Link
Contributing office(s) Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Deposit and geoenvironmental models for resource exploitation and environmental security
First page 135
Last page 149
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