The Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of Southern Africa (ASPASA) is a voluntary membership, private sector producers association.

Aspasa is a member of the Chamber of Mines, but represents those companies that are in the business of producing aggregate and sand and is better known for operating quarries, sand pits and crushing operations. Aspasa stands on its own, even though a member of the Chamber.

Aspasa represents its members in regard to policy positions, through various organs of the National and Provincial Governments. Contact and interactions also takes place with other relevant policy-making and opinion – forming entities. Contact is kept with other similar associations overseas.

To achieve the industry’s needs properly, regulation and control is required with particular emphasis on:

The control of borrow-pits is not yet optimal. Commercial quarries are dumping suitable material, which is being supplied by nearby borrow-pits.

The granting of commercial licences does not consider density or the cumulative impact.

The support that Aspasa gives its members is on the strategic and advisory sides of business. A great deal f work is put into promoting the industry and the association to the outside world, but also to ensure interaction among other companies/producers in the industry. Consultation and co-operation within Aspasa occurs on a voluntarily basis and does not encroach on the managerial prerogative of individual companies.

A wide range of services through working committees is supported which render services and advice to members. Certain aspects of business are focused on as it has found that companies do not always have the resources and manpower to deal with these on a day to day basis. Aspects that Aspasa cover are:

Health and Safety advice and the ISHE program; (Initiating Safety, Health, Education) Environmental advice; guidance and the About Face RAS audit program: Education and training advice through the involvement in CLAS (Cement, Lime, Aggregate and Sand); the Human Resources Committee; Technical advice and guidance through the very effective Technical Committee; Legislation advice, sharing of changes and representation of new bills, regulations and codes of practice, and various other aspects.

Aspasa is run through an Executive Council and managed by a Management Committee, directing, supporting and guiding the Aspasa Director, who is a full time employee.

Aspasa is striving for clarity and certain principles to be developed to ensure the sustainability of the industry:-

  • A sound and comprehensive regulator authority
  • A financially sound and sustainable industry
  • An environmentally responsible industry
  • An empowering and developing industry
  • An industry that embraces the transformation imperatives


“Natural aggregate is one of the nation’s most poorly understood resources”<p?>


It is easy to regard a quarry as a hole in the ground. It takes a bit more imagination to appreciate that many of the good things of life come out of a hole.

The average person typically does not give much thought to the subject of aggregates.

Many people think of mining as a single event – somebody acquires a piece of property, mines it for its important mineral resources and leaves a hole in the ground or a scar on a mountainside when they are done. But that is seldom the case. The mining industry (particularly the aggregate industry) is very active in reclaiming its property. This is done not just to make the property look good again, but to give it a beneficial use to society for evermore.

The South African Aggregate Industry

Throughout history and prehistory human beings have been quarrying for construction materials.

Aggregate in South Africa have historically encompassed:-

  • excavation of gravels and sand, which derive naturally from rivers or lakes
  • quarrying of stone and
  • limestone, which is mainly used in the manufacture of cement

Construction aggregates are used primarily in roads and concrete. Ninety-four percent of a road is aggregate. Eighty percent of concrete is aggregate, whether road “horizontal construction” or “vertical construction” including building, dams and the like.


So, what are aggregates? Aggregates are different types of rock fragments, such as rock, sand and gravel. These materials are obtained from the earth through a process called “surface mining, or otherwise called “open-pit mining”.

After these materials are mined, they are usually washed and sorted by size before they are sold to the markets.

In case where natural sand and gravel is unavailable, commercial aggregates are created by crushing large stones or by drilling and blasting massive rock formations and processing them into various sizes of rock and manufactured sand. This process is called “quarrying” when drilling and blasting of massive rock formations is required to produce aggregates, and all the materials produced by this process are called “crushed stone”. Unlike smooth, natural aggregate, crushed stone tends to be angular with sharper edges.

Definitions of Terms

What do we mean when they say aggregate and the aggregate industry

The word aggregate refers to any combination of sand, gravel and crushed stone in their natural or processed state. The aggregate industry means the crushed stone, and gravel industries in a whole.


Aggregate resources are used to make many features of the urban landscape that we depend on in our daily lives. For instance rock, sand and gravel are each integral component of “Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) which is used to build houses, sidewalks, water and sewer systems, bridges, airport runways, commercial buildings, streets, highways and other common projects. Aggregate resources are also a key ingredient of asphaltic concrete (AC), as well as the base and fill material required to repair and build streets, highways and parking areas. “PPC” is a mixture of rock, sand, gravel, cement, water and other “admixtures” “AC” is a mixture of crushed rock, manufactured and natural sands and hot, liquid asphaltic oil.

Just imagine having to live without the convenience of aggregate products. There would be no patios to braai on, no pools to swim in, no tile roofs on our homes or foundations beneath them. There would be no stone or concrete protecting our flood control channels during heavy rainstorms or runways that are strong enough to support the use of large airplanes for travel. This is just a glimpse of what life without aggregate products would be like.

“Aggregate occurs where nature place it, not where people need it”


ASPASA is committed to represent a healthy and sustainable aggregate industry.


ASPASA will contribute to achieving is Vision by:-

Developing the expertise – relationships and standing to allow it to shape key aspects of the industry environment;

Providing tangible and valued support to its members in their businesses.


Companies join up as members of Aspasa. At present there are ????? member companies, with Associated members as well. In the region of 130 quarries are represented.

Aspasa is involved on its own and through the Chamber of Mines to give input on a wide spectrum of legislation that affects the industry. All aggregates and sand producers must comply with requirements of State Laws. Due to this Aspasa has developed programs to ensure that its members are better equipped to handle the legal demands made on them.

Environmental matters are dealt with by an Environmental Committee, who has senior and knowledgeable specialists serving on this committee. Under this committee the About Face RSA, Environmental program resorts. The program is not a paper chase, but strives to get legal compliance into operations. The program is the only of its kind in South African mining industry, as it covers the whole country and across the company borders.

Health and Safety issues, which according to Aspasa are very important in the running of a business, resort under the Health and Safety Committee. Again this committee is made up of specialists that know the industry and their subject. This committee also has the ISHE program that it is responsible for. The ISHE program (Initiate, Safety, Health & Education) again is industry specific, as the companies found that other local programs don’t cater for the specific needs for the industry. This program is run every year against the Environmental one, the About Face, that is run every second year. Again a legal compliance program.

Technical matters have a big influence on the businesses of aggregate and sand producers. Aspasa has objected to the COLTO specification, which caused problems in that the industry was being jeopardized by some of the specifications. Aspasa Technical Committee drew up exclusion clauses which members use. These clauses have saved various companies of having to pay out unfair and unnecessary costs for claims that could not be substantiated. The Technical Committee is working with other industry bodies to ensure that specifications for construction work are up to standard and cost effective.

On the Human Resources front, various aspects are dealt with. Remuneration surveys are done, workshops on Aids and Labour Law is held. New products are shared with industry that affects the daily operations, i.e. providers of medical aid, and other services.

Public Relations is handled by an effective committee, which looks at the broader picture of recruiting members, the website industry figures and publicity for association and the industry.

The web-site deals with matters. There are also links to members and other relevant bodies. This committee also looks at the recruitment of non-members.

There are other aspects on the broader business scale that Aspasa is involved in and these can be shared with members on request.

The Future

Aspasa foresees a future in which a well run industry:

  • Keeps Government informed of the critical role the aggregate and sand industry plays in the economy.
  • Influences bodies such as the Institute of Quarrying, Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) and others to ensure employee skills are developed.
  • Engages in discussions on HIV/Aids to address a proactive industry aiming to ensure effective actions are taken.
  • Engages and focuses on issues such as silicosis, tuberculosis, hearing-aids and other work place illnesses.
  • Participates actively in bodies such as the Mine Health and Safety Council, the MQA Board, the Chamber of Mines Executive Committee.

Aspasa embraces the vision to create an industry that will proudly reflect the promise of a non-racial South Africa.

In doing so, Aspasa recognizes the legacy of exclusion of blacks, mining communities and women from the mainstream of the economy.

Therefore Aspasa supports the adoption of a proactive strategy to foster change and to encourage black economic empowerment and transformation in a sustainable and economically sensible manner.

Aspasa therefore subscribes to the aims of the broad-based black-economic empowerment charter for the mining industry.

In particular, the pillars of transformation related to

  • Human Resources Development
  • Employment equity
  • Encouraging greater community participation and development
  • Promoting greater procurement from HDSA companies
  • Encouraging greater HDSA ownership and
  • Participation and facilitating beneficiation
  • are not only supported, but will contribute meaningful to sustainable development in South Africa.