Aggregates are rock products like sand and gravel. Although non-renewable natural resources, they are crucial to the construction of modern infrastructure such as roads, bridges, homes, and buildings. Each Albertan uses 10-15 tonnes of aggregate per year and estimated provincial consumption is 42-62 million metric tonnes per year (from ASGA).
Aggregate operations are the various activities associated with recovering material from the ground and creating a product that can be used in our everyday lives. This can include extraction (digging), crushing (sizing), screening (sorting), and washing (cleaning) of aggregates.
The Scott Property site is being considered for an aggregate operation primarily because of the high quality and quantity of aggregate resources at this location. Other factors that support this aggregate operation are:
- Accessibility: A proposed conveyor system can transport the aggregate resources to the nearby Spy Hill operation thereby reducing community impacts, GHG emissions and impacts on local infrastructure.
- Close to Customers: The deposit is situated in a major metropolitan area that requires aggregates to support forecasted growth. The population of the region is anticipated to double over the next 50 years.
- Efficiencies: Close-to-market aggregate sources mean lower costs for consumers, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced truck traffic.
- Environmental Capabilities: Preliminary environmental studies suggest that the project can be designed in a way that will meet applicable environmental regulations, policies and standards. Lehigh is committed to exploring design principles that will ensure the most responsible project can be developed.
- Adaption: The site can be readily rehabilitated to a state that will enhance the community and environment. The details of a final land use will be refined throughout the engagement process.
The most significant change to the project design compared to previous submissions is the introduction of an aggregate conveyor system. Lehigh is proposing to incorporate a long-distance conveyance system that would eliminate the need to put haul trucks on the road. The conveyance system will consist of an above-ground, covered conveyor belt that will transport aggregates away from the site via a leased right of way. The conveyance system will be separated from roadways with a berm. On site operations would include mining and primary processing, and all material would be conveyed to Lehigh’s existing Spy Hill site for secondary processing and sale.
A map of the conveyor route can be found under The Project page of the website.
The investment of the conveyor makes this application different than any other put forward in Rocky View County or the Calgary region to date and is a clear example of how we are striving to meet our 2030 Sustainability Commitments. To learn more, please visit:
- Start in the southeast corner of the Scott Property
- Cross below Burma Road and Rocky Ridge Road into the provincial STAR pit property
- Run along the south side of Burma Road, behind a landscaped berm
- Turn south at 85th Street NW and run along the east side of the STAR pit property, behind a landscaped berm
- Cross below 85th Street NW north of the correctional centre to the Lehigh Spy Hill facilities
The conveyor system is being proposed to address local concerns about traffic and dust; however, it does come with its own potential impacts including possible restrictions to wildlife movement, vegetation and wetland loss where the footings are located and drainage impacts due to the berm location. As part of the project development, Lehigh will evaluate these potential impacts and develop mitigation measures which could include wetland avoidance, wildlife passage considerations and culvert placement. However, specific mitigations will be confirmed following discussion with the regulators and completion of the technical studies.
Most of the field-based technical studies are seasonally sensitive and must be completed during snow-free conditions; therefore, field programs will occur during spring or summer of 2020. Compiling, analyzing and reporting the results will occur throughout summer with the goal of filing the application including all technical study results in the fall of 2020. Lehigh plans to share the results of the technical studies at a future engagement event, likely around mid-late summer 2020.
The site is a significant deposit and could sustainably supply aggregates to the local market for up to 25 years depending on the final mining plan and market demand.
Lehigh believes that the most effective tools to address potential impacts are clearly identified application requirements and a performance standard-based approach. Lehigh will consider the RVC direction and provincial standards to develop mitigation measures that will reduce potential impacts and meet or exceed all regulatory requirements.
Aggregate operations can be managed in a way that minimizes impacts and Lehigh is committed to working with the community and peer operators to explore solutions. A best practice approach helps ensure minimal off-site impacts and environmentally responsible mining.
More details will be released regarding important considerations such as water, air, noise, and wildlife as they become available.
The MDP and ASP are both well underway with drafts expected soon, and Lehigh has participated in the engagement programs for each process. We continue to focus on a performance-based approach relative to project development and have provided such input to the County.
If all approvals are received, it is anticipated that construction of the conveyor and initial site works would begin in 2-3 years, with site operations to follow within 18 to 24 months.
Scott property will contribute a net community benefit in the following ways:
- ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE AGGREGATE PRODUCTS | A consistent supply of aggregate in the region preserves low sale costs of sand and gravel resources, reduces the need for tax dollars to support infrastructure projects and lessens potential for gravel shortages.
- RVC FISCAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | The project will contribute millions of dollars through the CAP levy, transportation levy, application fees, property taxes and other indirect benefits.
- LAND USE CERTAINTY | The property contains a significant source of quality aggregate and has been subject to multiple applications and land use uncertainty for years. Accepting aggregate extraction at this site will allow for an assured future.
- COMMUNITY AMENITIES | Aggregate is a temporary disturbance on the land and the end-uses can create community amenities and benefits including residential / non-residential uses, parks, trails, future housing, and infrastructure facilities.
- REDUCED GHG EMISSIONS AND TRUCK TRAFFIC CONCERNS | The conveyor system means a haul trucks won’t be needed, resulting in overall emission reductions.
- RAISING THE STANDARD OF INDUSTRY MITIGATION | Lehigh is committed to exploring solutions to potential cumulative impacts and is open to working with other companies, regulators and the municipality to achieve this.
- PRESERVATION OF A PUBLIC ASSET TO SUPPORT PROJECTED REGIONAL GROWTH | According to the CMRB, demand for aggregate is expected to double over the next 50 years. The Scott Property provides certain access to local aggregates for future decades.
The number of pits in the area is a reflection of the viability of the local deposits, a competitive market, and regional demand. The other aggregate operations near the Scott Property are in various stages of development. Each of these operations were evaluated and approved by RVC and other relevant regulators. Lehigh acknowledges that residents have expressed interest in addressing cumulative impacts caused by multiple local operations and is committed to exploring opportunities to do so. Lehigh is open to working with other companies, regulators and the municipality.
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