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Our future is set in stone

02 December 2022

Supplied by Aspasa

Few South Africans realise that quarries play a key role in our everyday life and are crucial to our existence by providing materials for shelter and infrastructure. 

Surface mining industry association ASPASA recently shed light on resident’s individual requirements for sand and aggregates that make up approximately three quarters of the mass of traditional construction projects including roads, bridges, ports, railways, harbors, hospitals, public and private buildings, as well as our homes and other essential infrastructure.

South Africans need approximately 9kg of sand and stone per day, as has been revealed in quarrying statistics. This is to continue our daily lives with shelter and access to public infrastructure and translates to roughly three tonnes of aggregate usage per person per year.

It is tempting to see a quarry as an undesirable ‘hole in the ground’ as they are often located in or on the outskirts of towns. Yet, if we were to move the quarries to rural areas away from our neighborhoods it would drive construction prices sky high, as the profitability of aggregate is very sensitive to transport costs.

This means that quarries are here to stay, and it pays residents to deal with responsible quarries that comply with all relevant legislation and regulations, as well as upholding social and sustainability requirements. All ASPASA member mines are required to comply with these regulations and undergo annual safety, health and environmental audits to ensure compliance.

They are also supported with regular training and workshops to constantly improve techniques to assist with minimising inconvenience to surrounding communities, rehabilitation of land after usage, waste management and many more initiatives to foster better relations with communities.

Did you know?

The sand and aggregate industry comprises some 573 registered operating quarries in South Africa. The name quarry is thought to be derived from the latin word “quadraria” which describes earth excavation.

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