Our Committment to Sustainable Development:
Aggregate Pits and Quarries
Pit or Quarry Approvals & OperationsPits and quarries can only be located where suitable aggregate resources exist close to market. Before a pit or quarry is licensed, a variety of studies are undertaken to ensure that the operations will not have an adverse impact on the environment and surrounding community. A range of studies are completed during the licensing process to assess the baseline conditions of the site. These studies (which may include groundwater, surface water, blasting, traffic, endangered species, noise, dust and archeology) form the supporting information for the operation’s site plans. Site plans, which are thoroughly consulted on, graphically (and in text) detail the existing conditions of a property, how the aggregate will be extracted and how the site will be rehabilitated at closure. Once a license is approved by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (MNDMNRF), we must adhere to any controls, monitoring and mitigation requirements noted in the site plans. We are also required to report annually to MNDMNRF on compliance with the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA), the regulation, the site plan, and the conditions in the approved license.
Community RelationsWe operate licensed sites in accordance with approved government conditions and regulations. In addition, we work closely with our local elected representatives, Ratepayer groups, neighbours and all other interested parties, by keeping them informed of scheduled blasts, responding to all complaints, and at some of our sites, by holding regular Community Liaison Committee meetings to discuss operational plans on an ongoing basis. We give back to the communities in which we operate by supporting local sports teams, charity events, and hospitals. We have also donated land at one of our licensed sites to Queen’s University to conduct research.
Water ManagementWater is used at our pits and quarries for quarry dewatering (to keep the working face/floor dry) and for dust control. With the exception of a small amount of water that may be retained on the product, the majority of the water used at a pit or quarry is returned to the local watershed. Water usage is regulated by the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP) through the issuance of a Permit to Take Water (PTTW). Before a PTTW is issued, a detailed hydrogeological study that evaluates the potential for unacceptable impacts to occur as a result of the water taking is reviewed by MECP. A PTTW regulates the maximum volume of water that can be taken daily and may have limits on the number of hours/day or days/year that water can be taken. Permit holders are required to measure and report daily water takings to MECP and ensure that there is no impact from the water taking on the surrounding environment.
Dust ManagementIt is a requirement under the ARA that dust is managed on site. Dust at aggregate sites may be generated through blasting and crushing, transport, and wind erosion of storage piles. To keep our workers and neighbours safe and healthy, we manage dust at our sites through a variety of control measures that include applying water (or an approved dust suppressant) to haul roads, and processing areas, constructing barriers to reduce windblown dust, proper housekeeping and limiting speeds on unpaved roads.
BlastingBlasting is a critical part of our quarry operations. MECP regulates blasting by limiting vibrations at 12.5 mm/s to ensure blasting activities do not impact the neighbouring community. Blasts are controlled and carefully designed to ensure that that they are carried out in a safe productive manner. When designing a blast, we take into consideration the type and structure of rock, and the desired size of the product. To ensure the blast is within vibration and sound limits, every blast is measured and detailed records are kept at site for viewing. We also notify our neighbours in advance of scheduled blasts and in some locations, ensure signage is posted along key trails to advise residents of blasting times.
RehabilitationAggregate extraction is an interim land use and GIP is committed to not only responsibly managing our pits and quarries during their operating lives but also to their rehabilitation at the end of their operating lives to maximize their beneficial use for the local community.
The end use of a site is determined during the licensing approval process – before a shovel even goes in the ground. Below water sites are rehabilitated to aquatic end uses and above the water table sites may be rehabilitated to a variety of end uses such as naturalized spaces or agricultural uses. Pits and quarries while active, support the development of significant public infrastructure in the communities in which we live while rehabilitated pits and quarries become assets for the communities by providing green space, land for residential development, ecosystem services, and agricultural opportunities.
Some recent examples of GIP rehabilitation include:
- Leonard Quarry (South Frontenac): 51 ha site that was surrendered in 2020. The former quarry was rehabilitated to agricultural (for livestock) and commercial use (wood processing). The slopes were seeded with a cover crop of grain and pasture mix including perennial grasses and legumes such as rye and clover. Any water from the site drains onto land to the north which is helpful in maintaining appropriate depths in the fish rearing ponds.
- Ambassador (Sandwich Township): 68 ha site that was surrendered in 2005. The site was rehabilitated to an 18 course golf course that in 2007 was ranked as one of the best 25 places to play golf in Ontario.
- Pannuzio Pit (Leamington): 36 ha site that was surrendered in 2021. The site will be developed with 255 affordable residential townhome units with a storm water management retention pond, providing the community with a much needed variety and mix of housing.