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Dedicated to Digging for Truth, Blasting the Myths, and Etching Reality in Stone.

 SAROS stands for “State of the Aggregate Resources of Ontario Study”. Its purpose was supposed to be to study and report on all aspects of the aggregate industry in order for the government to make wise decisions about future utilization, needs, sources, and management of pit and quarry resources.

 BUT … and it is a rather large ‘BUT’ …The SAROS papers were mainly written BY consultants to the Aggregate Industry, and judging by the contents, primarily FOR THE BENEFIT OF the Aggregate Industry.

The rub is – the various papers were all paid for with gobs of Ontarians’ tax dollars.

Nice work if you can get it!

The papers have been presented as a serious review of our aggregate resources, when in reality, the information is self-serving, misleading, incomplete, and vague.

Numbers and statistics are thrown around with no supporting documenation or explanation as to their source. The “Close to Market” and “no need to show need” mantras are maintained in the papers, without documented justification and without mentioning that Ontario seems to be the only civilized industrial region that makes these concepts an official priority.

SAROS states that there is a serious shortage of aggregate resources on the horizon, when in reality, the MNR’s Aggregate Licensing and Permitting System (ALPS) database shows reserves in existing pits/quarries of between 50 to 70 years supply of material, while other experts such as Dr. Larry Jensen, PHD Geoscience, calculates from 120 to over 200 years. For his calculations, Dr. Jensen uses figures from both TOARC (the industry’s Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association is the sole shareholder of The Ontario Aggregate Resources Corporation) and from ALPS.

In a presentation by the Ministry of Natural Resources to the Standing Committee on General Government this spring, it was stated that the SAROS papers should be used “as an integral part” during the ARA review process.

These recommendations are dangerous, and not just to our economic health, if followed.

Is it possible that our Minister of Natural Resources is so gullible and blind to the realities of his own portfolio that he can’t see the inherent biases that come with an all-too-cozy relationship between the industry and his bureaucrats?

Or are there other factors at work?

The only solid message delivered by the SAROS authors, or should we say “Servants of their Pit and Quarry Masters”, is that there should be nothing allowed to disturb “business as usual” for the hole diggers and blasters of Ontario.