What Is Reclamation and Why Is It Important?

June 16, 2022

Surface mining, or the act of obtaining aggregates and minerals by exposing the earth’s surface layers, accounts for about two-thirds of the U.S. mineral retrieval. It’s also the primary method of obtaining sand, gravel, and crushed stone, which we call aggregates. When centering on aggregate production, surface mining becomes incredibly important for the construction industry’s creation of roads, the development of commercial projects, and numerous residential projects. In essence, when building gets done, aggregates taken from surface-mining activities are the basic building blocks of these projects. But what happens with the land once those mining and quarry efforts are concluded? With sustainability in mind, the land is converted to a beneficial state.

Reclamation Defined

In its simplest form, reclamation is the process of safely converting a surface mine or quarry, either to its pre-mining condition or to an alternate beneficial use. Often, when you hear about reclamation, one could sense that it’s solely a post-mining activity. However, the reclamation process often begins in the pre-mining planning phase. While some reclamation planning can be required by law, ensuring that mining sites have long-term beneficial use is central to thoughtful mining and quarrying operations. Reclamation could range from graded gravel operations to remove steep slopes, revegetation efforts that beautify and build erosion control, or development as residential and commercial properties.

Why Bother with Reclamation?

The short answer is an environmental and public responsibility. With the vast nature of mining activities, if those operations are left as is, occasional issues can arise. If mining or quarry operations reside in populated areas, land erosion, runoff, or aesthetic issues may exist for surrounding communities to contend with. Even in more rural areas, these issues remain, but they may create additional reclamation opportunities that improve wildlife habitat and foliage.

Who Benefits from Reclamation?

The benefits of aggregate mine reclamation are wide-ranging. The process of ecosystem restoration, donation for public use, wildlife habitat improvement, housing development, and the like are significant opportunities for converted aggregate mining or quarry operations. Staker Parson employees benefit from our aggregate operations, which help us build the roads and communities around us. Those benefits are not just in the form of revenue supporting the families who work with Staker Parson. Benefits also come in the privilege of taking part in building the lives of those we serve and in the environment that we all rely on to live productive, healthy lives. We get the pleasure of being part of our communities, which is a primary tenet of why we do what we do.

The availability of construction aggregate remains an integral part of how we build and grow in this country. Aggregates help us maintain our roads, build new homes and businesses, and supply multiple industries with raw materials that go into the products we all use every day. If you’ve got questions about how we address reclamation for our operations, we urge you to drop us a note via the contact page, and we’d be happy to discuss.