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Managing environmental, social and economic issues

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Environmental issues include an increasing emphasis on water, both in managing the water- taking s and draw-down effects of these takings on other water supply sources, but also in ensuring that the water returned into the natural environment, for example, from quarry dewatering, meets regulatory standards. While coordination and integration is the overall responsibility of the Project Manager, one way to manage information flow is through using the capabilities of networked information technology - a password-protected collaboration workspace can provide a place where members of the team, outside service providers, and the client can work together.

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Managing environmental,
social and economic issues
A professional geoscientist and planner offers some timely guidance to aggregate producers.


    by Wayne Caston




I
     n the competitive, tight-margin business      to be declining, so companies are less cer-       to the area may be welcome, but local resi-
     of quarrying and aggregate production,        tain of receiving a green light at the end of     dents will not be pleased if most of the jobs
     cost management has long been one of          the process. Even with all approvals in place,    at the pit or quarry go to skilled workers from
the keys to success. Now, however, legisla-        the conditions attached to a Licence or Per-      outside. The local community will also be
tive and social changes are causing members        mit, both prior to commencement of extrac-        concerned about the costs a new or expand-
of the industry to re-focus their efforts. They    tion and over the life of the operation, may be   ed operation may have on their own water
are finding that being able to manage the          both onerous and expensive.                       supply, the natural environment and on roads
environmental, social and economic (ESE)               These trends are being driven by several      and traffic.
implications of their operations are becoming      ESE issues facing pit and quarry operators            Regulators, non-governmental organiza-
essential to success.                              in Canada. Environmental issues include an        tions (NGOs), political leaders and the news
    Consider that in Ontario, for example, ob-     increasing emphasis on water, both in man-        media may take up the cause of local stake-
taining new pit or quarry Licences and related     aging the water-takings and draw-down ef-         holders if it is felt they are not being treated
Permits used to take approximately four years      fects of these takings on other water supply      fairly. The result can be negative news cov-
but that now, the requirements are such that       sources, but also in ensuring that the water      erage, political opposition, regulatory delays
it typically takes closer to six or seven years.   returned into the natural environment, for ex-    or even denial of approvals. This means that
This can be a real problem for companies           ample, from quarry dewatering, meets regu-        the risks and opportunities associated with
that are running out of reserves within their      latory standards. Social issues include local     ESE factors have become a major part of the
existing licenced areas, and who may face          residents who are concerned about the impact      decision process around both new pits and
shutdown if they cannot receive the required       of an extractive operation on their quality of    quarries, and for expansions of existing op-
approvals in time.                                 life, factors that are not easily quantifiable.   erations.
    Success rates for applications also seem       The economic activity that extraction brings          It is no longer enough for companies to




24 / March-April 2009 / Aggregates & Roadbuilding
                                                                                sitating additional work to be carried out or studies to be undertaken.
                                                                                    While coordination and integration is the overall responsibility of
                                                                                the Project Manager, one way to manage information flow is through
                                                                                usin
								
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