Land use - aggregates and quarry materials

Aggregates refer to all types of quarry material such as sand, gravel and rock used to build and maintain roads, bridges, playing fields, buildings, water lines, sewer systems and other physical infrastructure.

On this page:

An assured and continuous supply of quarry materials is vital to the long-term viability of the province's construction industry.

Crown land is often the only land available to communities, particularly rural communities, to spur economic development and help meet the challenges of their changing economies.

In addition to material extraction, a quarry operation may also include:

  • Material sorting
  • Crushing
  • Stockpiling
  • Washing
  • Barge-loading
  • On-site operation of a temporary portable asphalt plant

In evaluating applications and monitoring existing tenures, the Province of British Columbia ensures quarry operations comply with safety standards, land use compatibility and environmental sensitivities of the land.

Dispositions of Crown quarry land are made by public tender or direct offer in response to individual application.

Public tender is the preferred method of disposition for new deposits where materials are in high demand. Public tender is also used for already-known deposits where a quarry tenure or reserve is not being replaced. This may be by public auction, limited auction to interested parties, or by public offering.

Direct offer may be used in response to an application where:

  • A replacement tenure is being issued
  • Where a new quarry deposit has been identified through independent initiative
  • Provincial staff, through advertising referral processes or other means have determined that there is limited competition for the resource

Application documents

In addition to reading the information on this webpage, the following documents should be reviewed prior to submitting your application:

The following documents must be completed prior to submitting your application:

Who may apply?

The application process is open to:

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents at least 19 years of age
  • Canadian or B.C. registered partnerships
  • Corporations that are registered in the Province of British Columbia or incorporated under the laws of Canada

Types of tenures

Quarry tenures may be in the form of a lease or a license.

Three types of tenure are available:

  • Initially, most quarry applications receive a 5-year License of Occupation. However, a 10-year replacement license may be issued after the initial license
  • A Lease may be issued in cases where tenure is required for longer than a 5-year license of occupation or must be surveyed for other purposes. Most leases are for 10 years but may be increased to a maximum of 20 years in special circumstances
  • Where a small quantity of quarry material is required over a short period of time or for exploration purposes that do not meet the requirements of the Permissions Policy, a Temporary Licence may be issued. The maximum term is 2 years

Fees and costs

In addition to the application fee and an annual land rent, royalties on extracted materials are charged:

  • An annual land rental for a lease or a licence is based on 1% of Appraised Market Land Value, with a minimum rent of $500 per year. Additional rental is charged for secondary uses associated with the operation
  • Royalties are based on the amount of material extracted and the market value of the raw material. Rents are established by the Province of British Columbia offices based on local markets

The Province of British Columbia does not charge royalties on construction aggregate used for building public works, such as highways.

Special requirements:

  • Applicants are required to submit a Site Management Plan and to obtain approval for a Work Plan and a Reclamation Permit from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
  • Where an application for Temporary Licence is intended to lead to a Direct Offer of a Licence of Occupation or a Lease, the submission of a pre-development plan is required. The pre-development plan will outline preliminary aggregate resource requirements
  • If the gravel pit is within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), a Soil Removal Permit is required from the Agricultural Land Commission for removing soil from Crown land within the ALR
  • Quarry operators may be required to deposit a performance guarantee to ensure site cleanup. A Site Reclamation Program for post-extraction land use must be specified.
  • Operators are required to submit an annual report stating the quantity of material removed and end use of the material
  • The most common reason for delay is submission of an incomplete application, which is then returned to the applicant
  • If your application is accepted, you will be notified if Advertising is required. Please wait for confirmation from the Province of British Columbia before advertising

If you have questions regarding any aspect of the application process, a specific file or a proposal about a specific area, please contact FrontCounter BC.