Arsenopyrite, the main ore found on the surface at the Salsigne mine, is rich in iron, sulphur and arsenic (7 to 20%) and contains a few grams of gold per tonne (S France, 2012). © Laurent Mignaux - MEDDE

AGREGA: a new simulation tool to develop a management methodology for aggregate resources

Under the Investing for the Future scheme, the BRGM is taking part in the AGREGA project on forward planning and management of regional aggregate resources.

With the anticipated rise in demand in the construction and civil engineering sector, supplies of natural aggregate in France are set to become an issue of major importance in the decades to come. However, estimates of aggregate production are pointing to shortages due to increasing urbanisation, environmental and societal constraints.  To address this problem, the profession is investing with central and regional government in ways of making better use of natural or recyclable aggregates.


Aims of the project

The AGREGA project (on forward planning and management of aggregate resources in the regions), was launched by the French National Research Agency (ANR) under the Investing for the Future programme and is run by seven scientific, technological and industrial partners and sustainability specialists, including the BRGM and ARMINES, UNICEM, the University of St-Quentin, ANDREIL-GAME, IAU and VNF.

The project was launched in 2014 for three and a half years to develop scenarios to support forward planning of the geographical distribution of aggregate needs up to 2040, and to propose or establish new quarries and recycling facilities. The outcome has been the development of a simulation tool to plan for regional needs for quarried aggregate, secondary aggregate (under plans for preventing and managing construction waste) and marine aggregate.

The pilot region for the project will be the Île-de-France, the host region for the "Greater Paris" urban planning project up to 2030, because it is the largest potential source in France of secondary aggregate and because of its current dependence on other regions for aggregate resources.

Multi-actor role-playing to develop an integrated and participatory approach

In order to develop an integrated methodology, a "serious game" has been set up to test the feasibility of the forward scenarios. The role-play sessions bring out the multiple opinions and attitudes of those who are  involved directly (construction, waste management, producers of materials, etc.) and indirectly (local government, civil society groups) in the sector, to foster a better understanding of the issues and better decision-making downstream. The role-play thus meets a scientific, thematic and educational objective.

At the end of the "game", the parameters and attitudes obtained are compiled into a simulation tool developed by the project to handle complex information. Through their role-playing, those involved on the ground will be building up a tool to simulate scenarios they will then use in practice. 

The AGREGA role-playing exercise

  • A role-playing session with professionals from the sector (here, Lafarge, SNBPE and the Ministry).

  • A role-playing session with students from BRGM Campus, the BRGM School.

  • Example of rules used during role-play.

Five sessions have been organised to date, in 2016 and 2017, on the Île-de-France case, with players involved in quarry planning, professionals from different operational sectors and students from different disciplines including geology, mines and quarries, hydrogeology and economics. In keeping with the AGREGA approach and its regional vocation, another session is planned in November 2017 in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region with players from the local aggregates sector. This session in a different area will aim to fine-tune and simplify the approach for transposability at the regional scale via the institutions and players involved in the sector.


More about the BRGM's involvement in the Investing for the Future programme

BRGM - 3 avenue Claude-Guillemin - BP 36009 45060 Orléans Cedex 2 - France Tel.: +33 (0)2 38 64 34 34