Mineral aggregate (sand, gravel, and crushed stone) is an important ingredient in the construction of buildings, roads and other infrastructure. Unfortunately, there are significant negative environmental and social impacts associated with the extraction, processing, transportation and use of mineral aggregate. Using criteria from the environmental assessment (EA) and policy sciences literature, this study evaluates and compares four EA processes that apply to the extraction and use of aggregate for public infrastructure projects in Ontario, Canada: the Aggregate Resources Act, Individual Environmental Assessment Act review under the Environmental Assessment Act, Municipal Class Environmental Assessment, and Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Transportation Facilities. The results show that the Aggregate Resources Act, Individual Environmental Assessment Act review and Municipal Class Environmental Assessment processes are moderately effective, whereas the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Transportation Facilities is ineffective. Recommendations are made for improving EA policies to ensure more sustainable aggregate development.
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