Sustainable construction needs to start at the very foundations of all business projects with the sand and aggregates that constitute the largest part of just about every construction project.
This is an often-overlooked element of sustainable construction and required that all materials used for ground stabilisation and concrete be manufactured with sand and stone that is procured through registered legal entities that adhere to all the relevant legislation relating to the environment.
Nico Pienaar, the director of the surface mining industry association, ASPASA, says that all too often sand and stone is overlooked by green building practitioners, yet it constitutes the largest component of any construction work. By volume sand and stone makes up by far the biggest percentage of the dry mix of concrete and it is vitally important that a paper-trail be followed to ensure the materials are obtained from legal mining operations.
Sand and stone suppliers, as well as ready mix or prefabricated concrete suppliers should be able to prove the supplying mine is operating with a valid mining licence from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), has land-use rights from the local, provincial and national authorities, as well as complying with all relevant environmental protection requirements.
“It is an unfortunate fact that illegal mining practices continue to scar our landscapes and diminish the lives of surrounding communities and others that are affected by the practice. That is why we urgently call upon all involved in sustainable and green building projects to make use of materials from legal and environmentally conscious companies who are active ASPASA members.
Keep it green
“Building professionals should also remember that unscrupulously operated pits and quarries scar the environments and contaminate water courses. Damage in these cases is most often left for future generations to clean up. That is why mines and quarries belonging to Aspasa have thrown their full weight behind programs to help protect the environment upfront and adopt sustainable mining practices in their everyday operations.
“Increasing environmental awareness has prompted our members to lead by example and adopt a comprehensive compliance program which serves to ensure compliance with regional and national bylaws and legislation and requires all members sites to be audited on an annual basis to confirm compliance. The DMRE may also use the information for future mining licence decisions,” adds Nico.