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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Borneo – Malaysia: Machinery seized over illegal sand mining

News, Sand Mining

According to the Lands and Surveys Department record, the department has made numerous raids on illegal sand mining activities since 2015

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Illegal Chinese Sand Mining Causing Massive Land Reduction in Kinmen

From 2007 to 2012, the coastline in parts of Taiwan-governed Kinmen -located off the coast of southeastern China- has reduced more than 200 meters and the total land loss currently adds up to 250,000 square meters. Many experts and Kinmen locals, believe this ongoing phenomenon can be attributed to illegal Chinese sand miners operating along the coast.

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“The Shore Break,” A Movie From Riley Grunenwald

A gorgeous stretch of the Wild Coast is the object of a standoff between corrupt pro-mining forces interested in mining the local beach sand for titanium, and a South African coastal community. The drama is structured around two diametrically opposed protagonists. A film review by Variety.

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The Archipelago with Ubiquitous Land Reclamation Projects

Whilst reclamation in Jakarta and Bali are more well-known due to the frequent reporting and public controversies, similar projects are also either being planned or underway in other regions across Indonesia.

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French mayor draws a line in the beach sand

News, Sand Mining

The growing global sand and gravel exploitation has not spared France’s beaches either. Under what has been called the “Le Matelier project,” two companies are considering extracting about 13-million cubic metres of beach sand and gravel for 30 years, in the Gironde estuary.

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Nigeria – Akwa Ibom: Illegal sand mining threatens Calabar-Itu, Mkpok bridges

News, Sand Mining

The unregulated activities of illegal sand miners in Akwa Ibom State is not only causing large damage to the environment, but also threatening the foundation of some critical assets in the state such as the Mkpok bridge in Onna Local Government Area and the strategic Calabar-Itu bridge in Itu Local Government Area of the state.

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Researchers turn carbon dioxide into sustainable concrete

The new building material could transform polluting emissions into a valuable resource.

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Sand Mining at Poyang Lake, China

When you see the vast expanses of sand in the Sahara and other major deserts, it is hard to comprehend how sand could ever be a resource in short supply. Yet for certain types, the supply of sand is indeed short.

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Sand Mining in Grenada, Video

St. Andrew residents are voicing concerns about the spate of sand mining taking place on a community beach. The men, one a culture ambassador, called in the media to witness excavators removing sand from the beach.

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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

    Indonesia’s contested land reclamation projects

    Bali Plastic Pollution

    April 5th, 2016

    There are more than 15 planned reclamation projects across Indonesia, including a $3 billion project to build artificial islands in the middle of Benoa Bay in Bali. This proposed reclamation has spawned one of the largest environmental movements in Indonesia’s history.

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    Breaking: Coastal Commission brings down the hammer on Cemex, CA

    March 20th, 2016

    The California Coastal Commission informed Cemex that it must shut down its sand mining operation in Marina, or face formal cease and desist and restoration order proceedings as well as administrative penalties.

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    Fraser Island tourism is proof Straddie will survive sand mining exit

    March 9th, 2016

    Former Australian’s prime minister Malcolm Fraser, began the process of ending sand mining on Fraser Island in 1976, which finally succeeded in 1996 when the island was listed as a World Heritage site.

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    Company accused of willfully destroying Kenya’s best beach

    March 7th, 2016

    The nightmare of sandless Diani beaches is looming large again after Chinese company, the China Roads and Bridge Corporation, decided to appeal a decision by the Kenyan environmental tribunal that no more dredging was permitted off Diani beach without a full environmental and social impact assessment study.

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    Tanzania: Rising Sea Ruins Isles Beaches

    February 24th, 2016

    The Union Government cannot just look at Zanzibar sinking without providing help, said officials after a short tour to areas affected by erosion caused by the sea rise. Negative impacts of climate change in the Islands are real, and aggravated by people’s unnecessary cutting down of trees, and illegal mining to get sand and stones as building materials.

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    Grain by Grain, Truck by Truck: How Myanmar Is Losing its Beaches

    February 14th, 2016

    Around every corner waits a new truck. Workers dig their shovels into the powdery white sand of Myanmar’s Ngapali beach, the country’s top seaside destination, and lift it onto the truck beds. Vast craters dot the coastline.

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    Penang’s land reclamation may harm coastal communities, Malaysia

    February 9th, 2016

    Environmental NGO says such projects could also harm the environment and cause erosion, as well as loss of coastal resources.

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    Illegal sand-miners flourish in unguarded coastal areas, Malabar Coast, India

    February 3rd, 2016

    Cashing in on scarcity and the high price of river sand in the open market, illegal sand-mining gangs have turned their attention to the coastal areas of Kozhikode – the second largest city and urban agglomeration in Kerala State – and supply salty sand to the construction industry.

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    Senegal President asks the Government to take measures to stop illegal beach and dunes sand mining along Senegal coast

    January 21st, 2016

    Senegal President asks the Government to take measures to stop illegal beach and dunes sand mining along Senegal coast.

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    Trimex to invest Rs. 2,500 cr. on beach sand mining, Andhra Pradesh

    January 19th, 2016

    Indian mineral sand producer Trimex Group, will invest Rs. 2,500 crore (373 million USD) on mining beach minerals at Bhavanapadu and Kalingapatnam, two coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh state, located on the southeastern coast of the country. The company proposes the mining of 10 MTPA (10 million tonnes per annum) of heavy mineral sand along with pre-concentration plant of 1,525 tonne per hour.

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