Cement and ready-mix concrete production need a considerable quantity of material, such as cement stone and aggregates. Thereinafter our quarries has to be wisely exploited. The sites where to mine the raw material have to be geographically limited, then the excavation operations can take place. The quarry itself and the surrounding areas need to be carefully evaluated under several stands (geology, hydrogeology, chemistry, etc.). The mining plan and quarry operations has to consider restrictive criteria such as environmental sustainability, social sustainability, and industrial efficiency.
Planning the quarrying activities
The site identification, the choice of technology, the extraction methods and the reclamation plans are all coordinated in order to:
• Make the best use of a resource, and avoid opening new mining sites nearby;
• Ensure that all the quarrying operations are environmentally compatible;
• Perform the most appropriate excavation methods and employ the best mobile equipment that facilitate subsequent reclamation activities;
• Plan the quarrying operations in different lots so that reclamation activities can be carried out at the same time as the site is being actively exploited
The raw materials are usually extracted using different open-pit types and techniques depending upon the local topography.
The quarrying operations differ depending upon whether the materials are used for cement production or whether aggregates are used for concrete production.
• HILLSIDE QUARRY (cement)
Hillside quarries are located across a mountain slope or a hill slope. Mining works are typically performed through high walls interrupted by flat benches. Access roads and ramps allow to access the area where the material is dug out. The quarries may sometimes appear as a long, gentle slope if the original morphology permits it.
|Example of a bench-face quarry||Example of a single-face quarry|
|Roaschia (CN)||Alonte (VI)|
• TERRAIN QUARRY (cement)
Known as open-pits, these quarries are excavated below the ground surface level.
|Example of open-pit quarry (being excavated)|
|Augusta (SR)||Guidonia (RM)|
|Open-pit quarry that has been rehabilitated|
|Augusta (SR)||Tivoli (RM)|
• EXTRACTION OF AGGREGATES AND MATERIALS (SAND AND GRAVEL) FOR CONCRETE PRODUCTION
These materials may be extracted both from hillside quarries or open-pit quarries in alluvial material, which may be filled up with water and form shallow or deep lakes and thereinafter reclaimed into nature sites. They could also simulate a natural surface depressions within the original landscape reclaimed for agricultural purposes.
|Ceretto (TO)||Sant'Albano Stura (CN)|
Quarrying in a deep lake
Quarrying activities created a shallow lake with submerged aquatic vegetation
Environmental reclamation of quarrying sites
Environments and habitats are reclaimed at each quarrying site at the same time as it is being actively exploited through a series of operations including filling voids with natural soil, water controlling, grass seeding, and trees and shrubs planting.
The main objectives to reclaim a quarrying site are:
• To stabilize the quarry face by appropriately reshaping its morphology;
• To reshape the area and integrate it into the surrounding landscape using native plantings and soils;
• To reclaim and stabilize the habitats introducing as biological and morphological diversity as possible;
• To enhance the most of the reclaimed area by repurposing the entire site or part of it for agricultural or community activities, making it available to the public for nature, educational, scientific and recreational purposes.
|Morfasso (PC)||Castellazzo Bormida (AL)|
|Robilante (CN)||Sant'Albano Stura (CN)|
Buzzi Unicem collaborates with environmental associations such as LIPU, LEGAMBIENTE, Cuneo Birding and other local stakeholders to optimally design, develop and integrate the reclaiming operations. These synergies have resulted in the repurposing of these sites for nature, educational, tourism-recreational, cultural and sporting purposes.
A few reclaiming examples for recreational purposes:
• Oasi La Madonnina (Sant’Albano Stura – CN) (La Madonnina Oasis)
An oasis consisting of two shallow-water lakes surrounded by inviting riparian vegetation that accommodates hundreds of migratory or resident birds and hundreds of visitors each year (enthusiasts such as birdwatchers, photographers and families). The oasis is now a benchmark among the major sites of its type for the variety of bird sightings.
• Oasi Botanico Ricreativa Ceretto (Carignano – TO) (Ceretto Recreational Botanical Oasis)
This site, which is still an active quarry, hosts educational activities and workshops focused on scientific and nature topics, as well as interesting walks along the nature trail that winds around the quarry lake among lowland woods and the shore.
• Laghi di pesca sportiva (Castellazzo Bormida – AL e Scansano – GR) (Recreational fishing lakes)
Two deep-water lakes now used by recreational fishing enthusiasts, where people can enjoy sport, quality time and nature.