The Sand, Gravel, & Construction Materials Industry
In British Columbia, aggregate pits are designated as mines. As such, the Ministry of Energy and Mines is responsible for their
planning, management and regulation, including permitting, health, safety and reclamation.
Crushed stone and sand and gravel are most often used by the construction industry. For example, an average 1,500-square-foot
home, when considering its proportional share of new streets, schools, churches, municipal construction projects and shopping
centers, requires about 330 tons of aggregate.
Typical Uses of Aggregates
The cost of transporting processed aggregate to the point at
which it will be used is a critical consideration in the eco-nomics
of any quarry operation. Because transport plays a
central role in determining aggregate prices, the use of
competitive and high-volume delivery means, such as barge
transport, and deep sea vessels, allows penetration and
expansion in other market areas.
(Click images to enlarge)
As a result of declining resource base and longer travel
distances between gravel pits and end users, sand and gravel
prices have risen in the last decade. Statistics Canada reports
that the sand & gravel index increased over 25% in the
period 1994 through 1998. This increase in cost is forecast to
continue as close by inventories are exhausted.
Whereas the volume of coastwise shipping has been small
relative to total production, B.C. leads the country in this area
and the outlook for continued growth is positive.
The total value of production from stone quarries has
increased dramatically from the 1980's, a period of slower
growth. While the mining industry as a whole has not had
widespread growth, the sand & gravel / quarry component
has. It is also significant that mining operations have one of
the highest employment multipliers of any industry.
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