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Rock crushing replacing gravel extraction

Long-term progress:
Large amounts of gravel and crushed rock are used: 15.5 tonnes per capita in 2013.
Short-term progress:
Use of soil and rock material varies, mainly in accordance with economic and construction volumes.
Progress in relation to targets:
No reduction targets have been set for the extraction of gravel and crushed rock.

Extraction of gravel and stone from rocks in 1999–2013

Extraction of gravel and rock
Source: Finnish Environment Institute and Infra ry. 2014.

Eskers and rocky outcrops are valuable habitats

Almost 85 million tonnes of gravel and crushed rock was consumed in Finland in 2013, which makes around 15.5 tonnes per capita. This is almost as much as in 2009–2012, but clearly less than in 2007 and 2008 when economic problems had not yet reduced construction.

The most striking development of the past few decades has been the replacement of gravel and sand extracted from eskers with aggregate made from solid rock. Today, crushed rock aggregate accounts for almost two thirds of extracted soil and rock material while the share was only one third 20 years ago.

Behind this trend are both lack of gravel resources and measures to protect groundwater. More efficient and cheaper excavation and crushing techniques have also made crushed rock aggregate more competitive. In road building, mobile crushing stations and local blasting have enabled the efficient use of rock reserves on building sites.

Both eskers and rocky outcrops make valuable landscapes and habitats. Their species diversity can also be surprisingly high. Some 6% of all the species in Finland live in rocky areas, even though such areas account for less than 2% of the total land surface. 8% of threatened species in Finland occur primarily or solely on rocky outcrops and boulder fields.

 

Sources:

  • Finnish Environment Institute and Infra ry. 2014.
  • Rassi P., Hyvärinen E., Juslén A. & Mannerkoski I. (eds.): The 2010 Red List of Finnish Species. 2010.
Published 2014-03-20 at 16:28, updated 2015-10-14 at 15:09