Category Archives: Sand Mining

Dubai’s Staggering Growth


Uploaded by NASA / EarthObservatory on Jan 17, 2012

By NASA

To expand the possibilities for beachfront development, Dubai undertook a massive engineering project to create hundreds of artificial islands along its Persian Gulf coastline.

Built from sand dredged from the sea floor, and protected from erosion by rock breakwaters, the islands are shaped in recognizable forms such as palm trees. As the islands grew, so did the city.

The above video includes satellite images showing the growth of Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates, between 2000 and 2011.

Taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite, the false-color images were made from visible and infrared light. Bare desert is tan, plant-covered land is red, water is black, and urban areas are silver.

In 2000, the area was nearly entirely undeveloped. By 2011, whole city blocks had sprung up. Offshore, the first palm-shaped island, Palm Jumeirah, reached completion.

Environmental Impacts of The Palm Islands Construction
The construction of the Palm Islands and The World, for all Nakheel’s attempts to do otherwise, have had a clear and significant impact on the surrounding environment. It would be impossible to introduce a change of such magnitude to an established ecosystem and not anticipate any negative changes or reactions in the area’s wildlife and natural processes. 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. Sediment stirred up by construction has suffocated and injured local marine fauna and reduced the amount of sunlight filtered down to seashore vegetation. Variations in alongshore sediment transport have resulted in changes in erosion patterns along the UAE coast, which has also been exacerbated by altered wave patterns as the waters of the Gulf attempt to move around the new obstruction of the islands.

The World is sinking: Dubai islands ‘falling into the sea,’ The Telegraph
The “World”, the ambitiously-constructed archipelago of islands shaped like the countries of the globe, is sinking back into the sea, according to evidence cited before a property tribunal. Their sands are eroding and the navigational channels between them are silting up…

Palm Islands, Satellite Images, NASA
Along the coast of Dubai—one of several emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates—are human-made islands. From south to north, the artificial island sites in this image are Palm Jebel Ali, Palm Jumeirah, The World, and Palm Deira. Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Jumeirah appear largely complete in this image, looking like giant palm trees enclosed in huge arcs.

Slipping Sands Of Time Hit Dubai’s World, Time Magazine
The World islands off the coast of Dubai are sinking. The development, consisting of 300 islands, was designed to look like the countries of the globe when seen from above (or from the top of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building onshore in the city). The islands were intended to become luxury hotel complexes and private properties, each tailor-made to suit its owners…

Coastal Erosion Threatens Evolutionary Hotspots, Green Prophet
A shoreline expert is concerned about the toll construction and shoreline projects are having on the world’s marine ecosystems. Looking at the intensive construction projects ongoing in the Gulf region, such as Dubai’s The World, and over-pumping of aquifers by the Palestinian and Israeli authorities, Berne sees the current management of shorelines as a disaster. In an interview with Green Prophet, Berne points out the problems in the Middle East and gives alternative solutions, such as offshore ports powered by solar energy, to stop soil erosion and habitat loss…

Some Relief for the Reef

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Photo source: © Greenpeace

Excerpts;

As the UNESCO mission draws to a close after investigating impacts of mining infrastructure on the Great Barrier Reef, Greenpeace, launched the beginning of a vital new campaign – to protect the Great Barrier Reef and our climate from the reckless expansion of the coal export industry, and WWF calls on Minister Burke to place a moratorium on approving new large-scale industrial developments until a comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts has been completed…

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…

Group to Hand Petition to UN reef Mission

Some relief for the reef, Greenpeace
It was a huge week. And it was capped off by a crucial announcement on Sunday: Approval to build the world’s biggest coal port in the Great Barrier Reef has been delayed.

WWF Calls for Moratorium on Great Barrier Reef Development, Dredging Today

Save The Reef… from coal, Greenpeace

Economist backs Greenpeace reef campaign, ABC News Australia
Economic researcher says Greenpeace is right to be fighting the coal industry over an increase in coal mines and shipping near the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef awaits UN verdict

Emissions from Oil Sands Mining

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By Michael Carlowicz, NASA, based on reporting from the American Geophysical Union

Using data from a NASA satellite, researchers have found that the emission of pollutants from oil sands mining operations in Canada’s Alberta Province are comparable to the emissions from a large power plant or a moderately sized city. The emissions from the energy-intensive mining effort come from excavators, dump trucks, extraction pumps and wells, and refining facilities where the oil sands are processed.

Oil sands (also known as tar sands) are actually bitumen, a very thick and heavy form of oil that coats grains of sand and other minerals. Once extracted, that asphalt-like oil is partially refined so that it can be transported through pipelines to other refining facilities.

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The top two maps above depict the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air above the main oil sands mining operation along the Athabasca River, as observed from 2005 to 2007 (left) and 2008 to 2010 (right). The lower map shows those emissions in the broader context of the western provinces of Canada and the northern United States from 2005 to 2010. All data were acquired by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite.

Examining an area 30 kilometers (19 miles) by 50 kilometers (31 miles) around the mines, the research team led by Chris McLinden of Environment Canada found elevated levels of pollutants. Nitrogen dioxide concentrations over two of the largest mining operations reached 2.5×1015 molecules per square centimeter by 2010. The emissions had increased about 10 percent per year between 2005 and 2010, roughly the same rate as the growth of the oil sands industry. Sulfur dioxide concentrations (not shown above) peaked at 1.2×1016 molecules per square centimeter.

“For both gases, the levels are comparable to what satellites see over a large power plant—or for nitrogen dioxide, comparable to what they see over some medium-sized cities,” said McLinden, whose findings were published in Geophysical Research Letters in February 2012. “It stands out above what’s around it, out in the wilderness, but one thing we wanted to try to do was put it in context.”

The oil sands deposit in northwest Alberta covers about 142,200 square kilometers (54,900 square miles). Only 20 percent of the oil sands lie near the surface where they can easily be mined, while the rest of the oil sands are buried more than 75 meters below ground and are extracted by injecting hot water into a well that liquefies the oil for pumping. About 1.8 million barrels of oil were produced daily in 2010 from the Canadian oil sands.

Original Article, NASA

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Oil Drum close-up, The Price of Oil Series. Photo source: ©© Tashland

UN Team Examines Mining Threat to Great Barrier of Reef

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The Great Barrier Reef off the Queensland coast is home to a wealth of marine life. Photo source: ©© NASA

Excerpts;

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

Fears that coal exports and oil and gas exploration would jeopardise the reef prompted the Unesco delegation’s visit.

Environmentalists have urged the government to suspend mining development until a government review is completed..

Read Full Article, BBC

Australian Government’s Great Barrier Reef Plans’ Questioned

Delta State Government Bans the Dredging of Sand, Nigeria

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The return of the sand collector, Nigeria. Captions and photo source: ©© Jeremy Weate

Excerpts;

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

Read Full Article, Dredging Today

Mining Black Sand, Lingayen, Philippines

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Black sand beach, Philippines. Photo source: ©© Nathanael B

Excerpts;

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…

The Lingayen Gulf is an extension of the South China Sea on Luzon in the Philippines stretching 56 km (35 mi). It is framed by the provinces of Pangasinan and La Union and sits between the Zambales Mountains and the Cordillera Central. The Agno River drains into Lingayen Gulf. Wikipedia

Read Full Article, Northern Watch (02-04-2012)

DENR Stops Lingayen Black Sand Mining, Philippines, Inquirer
The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) has stopped black sand extraction in coastal villages in Lingayen, after it issued a cease-and-desist order to the firm contracted by the provincial government


Magnetite Beach Sand Mining Operation, Buguey, Cagayan, Philippines: A VIDEO

Uploaded by envieonment on Sep 15, 2011 / Youtube
Excerpts;
“View how the Backhoe haul our Blacksand along our coastline… Isn’t it that it is so very destructive as you can see… They are operating near the sea waves and destroying our natural protective barriers. They do that 24 hours 7 days a week. Imagine what will happen to us in Buguey, Cagayan if this mining companies continues with their operations…My dear townmates, we are now the caretakers of our environment. It is our duty and obligations to protect it and save what is left in our environment, not only our sake bet also for the future generations-for the sake of our childrens. Their operation is evidently within the prohibited zone as define under the Phil. Mining Act of 1995 that 200 meters onshore from the mean low tide and 500 meters offshore from the mean low tide from the coast are areas closed to mining…Likewise Batas Pambansa 265 prohibits the extraction of any beach resources… But look what they are doing? Remember the RULE OF LAW must prevail. Ignorance of the law excuses no one and no man is above the law…therefore the government should not tolerate any violations of the law… It is also our constitutional right to live in a healthy and balanced ecology…”

Learn more and See contact information:“Environment / Youtube

Sand mining operation-Minanga Este, Buguey, Cagayan. A Youtube Video
Barges use for operations of the Magnetite sand mining along the coast of Buguey, Cagayan, Philippines.

Sand Mining in the Philippines: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Singapore Raises Sea Defences Against Tide of Climate Change

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Sentosa Island is an artificial resort located 500m of the south coast of Singapore. Here a detail showing its beaches made of imported sand. Captions and Photo source: ©© Jorge Lascar

Excerpts;

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…

Read Full Article, Reuters

Singapore Extends its Coastline With Illegally Dredged Sand from Neighboring States.

The Damages Caused By Singapore’s Insatiable Thirst for Land, Ecologist

Shifting Sand: How Singapore’s Demand for Cambodian Sand Threatens Ecosystems and Undermines Good Governance, by Global Witness
This report reveals how Singapore’s rapid expansion is driving an ecologically and socially devastating sand-dredging industry in Cambodia.

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

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Gladstone, Queensland, Australia – Storage Silos on the Gladstone waterfront. Photo source: ©© Nickj

Excerpts;

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.

A coalition of representatives from the fishing and tourism industries and reef scientists joined Australian Greens environment spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters to make the announcement today.

“The amount of dredging planned for the Reef for coal and coal seam gas export is off the charts – until October 2010, 6.5 million cubic metres of dredging had been approved in a five year period, now that’s ballooned to 112 million cubic metres on the books,” Senator Waters said…

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The Great Barrier Reef extends for 2,000 kilometers along the northeastern coast of Australia. It is not a single reef, but a vast maze of reefs, passages, and coral cays (islands that are part of the reef). Photo source: ©© jamestee

Read Full Press Release, From Larissa Waters, Queensland

Greens Worried By New Dredging Plans ForThe Great Barrier Of Reef, News Aus

Dredging Up The Great Barrier Of Reef, The Australian
Work is already under way to dredge 46 million tonnes of sediment from Gladstone Harbour as part of the $30 billion Curtis Island project to export coal-seam gas to Asia.

Tatai River Sand Dredging Resumes, Cambodia

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Sand from the Tatai River dredging operations. Dredging has increased in recent months due to burgeoning demand from as far afield as Singapore. Caption and photo source: ©© Robert Tyabji Hoorob

Excerpts;

In October Ly Yong Phat’s LYP Group had respected an agreement to stop sand dredging on the Tatai River in Koh Kong province by mid-October. But rather than respecting the written agreement from July 16, Ly Yong Phat had simply subcontracted out to another company to keep on dredging sand…

Read Full Article, Dredging Today

Sand For Sale,Environment Ravaged, Cambodia; by Denis D. Gray, AP Enterprise

Cambodia, A Stop Order For Sand Dredging