This report is the first attempt to give a broad perspective on separate regions in Alberta. Alberta is not mature in terms of mineral aggregate: legislative procedures are incomplete, a resource inventory is not in place, and the industry and public concerns are still at a sparring stage. The mineral aggregate sector in Alberta is developing rapidly, and the next 10 years will be critical in the development of a philosophy and procedures that will guide mineral aggregate development for many decades.
The report includes a survey of producers to determine the size, value and nature of the industry in Alberta for 1991. Sand and gravel is produced, transported and used within various individual market regions. The greatest total consumption (production) is concentrated around Calgary and Edmonton. In Alberta, 4% of the producers mine 53% of the total production, and 66% of the provincial production comes from only 10% of the operators (those that mine more than 250,000 tonnes annually).
The mineral aggregate industry in Alberta comprises several thousand pits run by about 300 public and private sector producers. Total provincial production of sand and gravel in 1991 was 45,484,836 tonnes worth $163,226,689.00. This places Alberta fourth in total mineral aggregate production in Canada and second in sand and gravel production. The annual per capita consumption of mineral aggregate in Alberta for 1991 was 18.7 tonnes, considerably higher than the Canadian average of 10.4 tonnes.
It is essential to inventory our resources as most other provinces have done. There is no public accounting of mineral aggregate reserves. Although the amount of sand and gravel present apparently is vast, available reserves actually are much smaller and being consumed at twice the rate at which they are being discovered. No public mapping has taken place in Alberta for the last five years and existing resources are being removed from access through land use restrictions.
These resource data must be followed with a resource-conservation strategy that identifies those resources to be preserved for the future. It is essential to understand our demand and use for mineral aggregate. An annual survey of all producers should be undertaken by the province in sufficient detail to enable regional resource evaluation. Decisions on the development of deposits that will affect more than one jurisdiction should have input from the province to aid a municipality in its land-use decisions.