Sand and gravel are used as fill, base and finish material for highway construction, as coarse and fine aggregates in concrete and asphalt production, and as fine aggregates in mortar and concrete blocks. They are also used as backfill in mines, along with cement and mill tailings. Industrial-quality sand is also used in the manufacture of glass, pottery and bricks and in water filtration. "Sandy" soils are favourable to certain types of agriculture.
Deposits are widespread throughout Canada although there are shortages of this resource in some regions. Operators have established plants as close to major consuming centres as possible. In addition to large aggregate operations, usually associated with some phase of the CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY, many small producers serve local markets. Exploitation is generally by power shovel or loader and trucks or conveyor systems; processing consists of washing, crushing and screening.
Worldwide, sand and gravel, as well as crushed stone aggregates, are becoming recognized as strategic resources in the context of land-use planning and sustainable development.
See also CEMENT INDUSTRY.
Author G.O. VAGT
Links to Other Sites
Life of a Rock Star
This site tells the story of an extraordinary group of scientists who tramped, paddled and rolled across Canada in the nineteenth century to study the geology of Canada's varied terrain.
A History of Mining and Mineral Exploration in Canada
Click on the cover image to view an online copy of a comprehensive report that traces the emergence of Canada's mineral industry. From Natural Resources Canada.
Besides hockey and the maple leaf, there is little as symbolically Canadian as the CBC – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It grew out of a developing nation's need to express its identity and find its voice.