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Construction Aggregate

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The Department of Natural Resources issues leases to private companies and local governments to mine construction aggregate (sand, gravel, crushed stone, and landscape rock) on school trust and other state lands. The lessee pays a fee, called a royalty, for every unit of weight (ton) or volume (cubic yard) of material taken off a property. Rental payments and material sales royalties from school trust leases generate revenue that is deposited into the Permanent School Fund. Since 2000, leases for school trust construction aggregate have generated 5.5 million dollars for the fund.

Aggregates are a key ingredient used for Minnesota's roadways, bridges, sidewalks, airports, building foundations, parking structures, and wind turbine foundations. Identification and development of these resources on school trust lands has been a priority in recent years.

DNR completed a parcel-by-parcel inventory of school trust lands in 2019, and the findings inform management decisions and are used promote aggregate on these lands. Overall, two percent of all school trust lands have known occurrences of aggregate or indicate a high probability that significant deposits exist. Conversely, 69% of school trust lands (i.e. swamplands) have a low probability that significant aggregate deposits occur. The remaining 29% of school trust lands currently do not overlap with enough data to assign, or eliminate, the likelihood of significant aggregate resources to an acceptable level of certainty. New geologic data or field verification is required to reduce this uncertainty. The DNR conducts field investigations to verify the presence of aggregate resources on a case-by-case basis.

School trust parcels with the highest aggregate potential are promoted on a School Trust Aggregate Finder web map . This tool connects customers with site information and increases public recognition of school trust lease opportunities. The DNR helps companies test aggregate from school trust lands by coordinating temporary access, which helps verify the presence of aggregate and informs a company’s decision to lease this valuable school trust resource.

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