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My thoughts on aggregate resources Aggregate is a high-bulk, low unit value commodity that derives much of its value from being located near the market. Transporting aggregate long distances can add significantly to the overall price of the product. For example, a city of 100,000 can expect to pay an additional $1.3 million for each additional 10 miles that the aggregate it uses must be hauled. Therefore, aggregate operations frequently are located near population centers and other market areas. Despite society’s dependence on natural aggregate, urban expansion often works to the detriment of the production of those essential raw materials. “Resource sterilization” occurs when the development of a resource is precluded by another existing land use. For example, aggregate resources that exist under a housing development or shopping center commonly will not be extracted.
Preserving aggregate resources for future use, whether by policy or legislation, should be incorporated into planning designations and land use decisions if it is to be effective.  Existing operations and identified future resources need to be protected from competing land uses such as residential, commercial, or industrial encroachment, whose location is usually much more flexible than the aggregate resources.
Langer, W.H., 2011, Aggregate Resource Availability in the Conterminous United States, including suggestions for addressing shortages, quality, and environmental concerns: USGS Open-File Report 2011–1119, 87 p. Langer, W.H., Van Gosen, B.S., Arbogast, Belinda, and Lindsey D.A., 2011, Data report for the geologic and scenic quality evaluation of selected sand and gravel sites on the Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming: USGS Open-File Report 2011–1302, 158 p. Langer, W.H., 2009,  Chapter 1-Sustainability of aggregates in construction, in Sustainability of Construction Materials, Woodhead Publishing, Cambridge, UK, p. 1-30. Langer, W.H., 2008, An overview of crushed stone and sand and gravel resources in the United States: Aggregates International, Cologne, Germany, pp. 6-14. Langer, W.H., 2006, Crushed stone, in Industrial Minerals and Rocks 7th Edition, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Littleton, Colorado, pp. 171-180.
When the planning community ignores aggregate, management of those resources is left to chance. Management by default commonly results in unintended consequences including sterilization of resources, juxtaposition of incompatible land uses, negative impacts to traffic, unacceptable changes to the landscape, and undesirable environmental impacts. There have been a number of attempts to identify and protect quality aggregate resources for future use, and those attempts have met with mixed success.  Those that have been most successful have an associated incentive or enforcement capacity.  In spite of those efforts, local decision-makers commonly are in a quandary when it comes to balancing the regional needs for aggregate with local concerns for the health, safety, and comfort of their constituents.
Langer, W.H.,2006, Construction sand and gravel, in Industrial Minerals and Rocks 7th Edition, Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Littleton, Colorado, pp 159-169. Langer, W.H., 2004, Potential environmental impacts of quarrying stone in karst, in Proceedings, 38th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals, St. Louis, MO: Missouri:  Geological Survey and Resources Assessment Division Report of Investigations No. 74, pp. 169-183. Langer, W.H., Drew, L.J., and Sachs, J.S., 2004, Aggregate and the environment: American Geological Institute Environmental Awareness Series No. 8, 64 p Langer, W.H., 2004, Environmental Risk Analysis and Aggregate Mining, in Proceedings, 37th Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals: British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines, Geological Survey Branch Paper 2004-2, pp. 87-96
Langer, W.H., 2002, Construction materials - Crushed stone, sand, and gravel in  Encyclopedia of Materials - Science and Technology, Elsevier Science, p. 1537-1546. Langer, W.H., 2002, A general overview of the technology of in-stream mining of sand gravel resources, associated potential environmental impacts, and methods to control potential impacts: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report OF-02-153, 38 p. Langer, W.H., 1988, Natural aggregates of the conterminous United States:  U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1594, 33 p., 2 plates, 10 figs., 6 tables.
Selected publications on aggregate resources