The fate of a pit or quarry is often known even before it is ever developed. In fact, a mandatory part of applying for a license to begin extraction is to have a proposed rehabilitation plan in place. There is, however, a public planning process that must be satisfied prior to a new land use being established "post pit". Just because a pit approval is sought it does not mean that the "after use" development is automatically approved.
Regardless of what the end use will be for a pit or quarry, the rehabilitation process will still begin the moment topsoil is removed to uncover the aggregate deposits below. The topsoil is removed and preserved along with all its seed sources, returning to the pit or quarry when mining is completed. In this way, our industry is able to ensure the sites are returned to their natural state or are improved upon by turning them into lakes, golf courses or even college campuses.
Progressive and final rehabilitation is the law.
All licences granted since the Aggregate Resources Act (1990) require progressive and final rehabilitation plans be in place. That means that at the end of each phase of extraction, the worked-on area must be rehabilitated. This results in only a small fraction of a pit being disturbed at any one time.
Aggregate is a unique industrythat allows land to be re-developed into a new use after extraction. Many former above-water sites return to agricultural land, natural land use or recreational areas.
A common myth is that once a below-water site has been extracted, all that remains is a stagnant pit of water. The reality is that pits and quarries are being rehabilitated as new wetlands and water features that encourage and enhance biodiversity.