Sand Mining

Beach Sand mining on the beach in Morocco View Sand Mining Gallery

The world’s beaches are being mined for sand for a variety of uses (aggregate in concrete, fill, beach renourishment). The practice is often very destructive and poorly managed (or unmanaged). This is a global phenomenon (Morocco, Caribbean Islands, India, South Africa and more). This theft of beach and dune sand is a direct cause of erosion along many shorelines. It is very damaging to the beach fauna and flora, ruinous to beach aesthetics, and frequently causes environmental damage to other coastal ecosystems associated with the beach such as wetlands.

Another major impact of beach sand mining is the loss of protection from storms surges associated with tropical cyclones and tsunamis. Some communities affected by the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean had higher storm surges probably due to beach sand mining resulting in fatalities. Sometimes it is difficult to tell that a beach has been mined. Sand extraction becomes difficult to recognize as the beach readjusts to a new profile after a few storms. But historic accounts of beaches in the Caribbean often reveal that beaches have been narrowed considerably. Mining is particularly senseless in a time of rising sea level when sand is sorely needed as a storm energy buffer.

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Surfing in / Sand Mining

Surfers Oppose Cornwall Mining Plans

Surfers are leading a campaign against plans to “dredge” millions of tonnes of sand from the seabed off Cornwall amid fears that it could wreck the shape and power of the coast’s waves and damage the environment

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California Fracking Lawsuit Charges State Has Done Insufficient Job Of Regulating Practice

An environmental group has filed suit against the state of California for doing what it deemed an insufficient job of regulating the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

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Illegal Sand Mining a Challenge in Kavango, Namibia

News, Sand Mining

Illegal sand mining, veld fires and lack of human and financial resources are hampering efforts by the Kavango Region to use its biodiversity sustainably.

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Medupi Sand Mining Put To An End

News, Sand Mining

Compliance notices have been issued against sand miners in Lephalale, South Africa. Their operations must now stop or they will face legal action.

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No Control On Illegal Sand Mining, Goa

Sand Mining

The entire Goan coastline comes within the CRZ and there is a sand mining ban in the state with the state not issuing sand mining license in the past two years, yet blatant sand mining abound…

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In pictures: Sand mining in Sierra Leone

News, Sand Mining

Once synonymous with a brutal civil war, Sierra Leone was forecast to be one of the world’s fastest growing countries in 2012. On the back of the rapid economic growth, a construction boom, with new roads and buildings springing up in and around the major towns… But the construction brings with it increasing demand for sand, coming from the country’s beautiful beaches…

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Anger Over Sand Mining, Samoa

Sand-mining at Salani is destroying the beach, causing coastal erosion and harming the environment.

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San Francisco Bay Sand Mining Alarms Conservationists

News, Sand Mining

Dredge mining of shoals near Angel and Alcatraz islands and throughout Suisun Bay is robbing the bay of sand that keeps San Francisco’s Ocean Beach from eroding, according to new research by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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New Fracking Frontier Scares Residents

News, Sand Mining

Due to a rapid increase in demand, sand used in hydraulic fracturing, has become a valuable commodity, and sand mines are opening in the US at a rapid rate.

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Sand Mining

You can make a difference and help save our beaches

Learn simple things that you can do to help protect beaches starting with simply educating others about the beach thereby helping us celebrate the beauty of the world’s beaches.

Join our campaign!

Sign the petition to end global sand mining.

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  • Recent / Sand Mining

    Illegal Dredging Causes Major Problems, Vietnam

    March 28th, 2012

    Unchecked and illegal sand dredging have been attributed to severe landslide that washed away houses into the Dong Nai River, in the South Central Coastal region of Vietnam.

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    Barbuda Sandmining Nears Disaster Levels

    March 24th, 2012

    There have been renewed calls for an end to sand mining operations in Barbuda, as this activity has reached a stage that could spell an environmental disaster for Barbuda island..

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    Dubai’s Staggering Growth

    March 17th, 2012

    To expand the possibilities for beachfront development, Dubai undertook a massive and controversial engineering project to create hundreds of artificial islands along its Persian Gulf coastline. Built from sand dredged from the sea floor, the islands are shaped in recognizable forms such as palm trees. The construction of the various islands off the coast of Dubai has resulted in changes in area wildlife, coastal erosion and alongshore sediment transport, and wave patterns.

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    Some Relief for the Reef

    March 14th, 2012

    United Nations experts will be presented with a petition that has more than 100,000 signatures on it, calling for an end to dredging and development near the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland.

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    Emissions from Oil Sands Mining

    March 7th, 2012

    Using data from a NASA satellite, researchers have found that the emission of pollutants from oil sands mining operations are comparable to the emissions from a large power plant or a moderately sized city.

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    UN Team Examines Mining Threat to Great Barrier of Reef

    March 6th, 2012

    A UN team has arrived in Australia to investigate possible damage to the Great Barrier Reef by the mining industry.

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    Delta State Government Bans the Dredging of Sand, Nigeria

    February 8th, 2012

    The Niger Delta State Government has banned the dredging of sand in the 25 local governments. Commissioner for Environment Frank Omare said yesterday after a meeting with sand dredgers in Asaba, the state capital, that the directive was to save communities from ecological disaster.

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    Mining Black Sand, Lingayen, Philippines

    February 6th, 2012

    The black sand of coastal villages facing the Lingayen Gulf, Philippines, is being mined for magnetite, a highly-valuable mineral used by industrial companies. The once pristine beaches are now destroyed and coastal erosion alarms residents.

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    Singapore Raises Sea Defences Against Tide of Climate Change

    January 27th, 2012

    A 15-km (10 mile) stretch of crisp white beach is one of the key battlegrounds in Singapore’s campaign to defend its “hard-won” territory against rising sea levels linked to climate change…

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    Australia’s Government Plans To Increase Sand Dredging In Great Barrier Of Reef Area

    January 11th, 2012

    Figures obtained through Senate Estimates reveal more than 112 million cubic metres – or 65 Melbourne Cricket Grounds – are proposed to be dredged from the Great Barrier Reef​ World Heritage area, with 52 million cubic metres already approved by the Federal Government.

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