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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The Rising Environmental Toll Of China’s Offshore Island Grab

To stake its claim in the strategic South China Sea, China is building airstrips, ports, and other facilities on disputed islands and reefs. Scientists say the activities are destroying key coral reef ecosystems and will heighten the risks of a fisheries collapse in the region.

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Sand extraction from Titas triggers erosion

News, Sand Mining
Oct
12

Illegal extractions of sand from the River Titas in Sarail and Brahmanbaria Sadar Upazila are going on unabated intensifying threat of erosion in the nearby villages, local residents said.

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Indians at risk of flooding powerless to stem the tide of illegal sand mining

News, Sand Mining
Oct
10

As rising sea levels threaten to engulf homes along the shores of Tamil Nadu state, locals fear the erosion of the coastline is due to the illegal sand trade.

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Illegal sand mining — the open secret of a multi-million crore scam, India

India’s booming 157 billion dollar construction sector is expected to grow in the coming years. This means that the demand for sand and other minor minerals will increase as well, making it more difficult for the government to curb the methodical and unlawful abuse of riverbeds and coastal areas.

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Belgium is to build its first artificial island off the coast, as climate change mitigation

Amid rising seas, Belgium plans on building an artificial island off its coast, in a step towards climate change mitigation. 8 millions euros have been provided in funding of the project study.

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Money and sand: will there be enough for New Jersey’s beaches?

Beach replenishment is costly and exacts a heavy toll on the environment, depleting underwater ridges that are home to a broad variety of sea life. Skeptics questioned how the state and Army Corps of Engineers can commit to spending nearly $2 billion in beach replenishment through the mid 21st century.

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Why Paris beach festival could be sand-free in future

News, Sand Mining
Sep
30

The man-made, hugely popular summer Paris-Plages beaches along the Seine River, could be without sand next year, after complaints about the project’s disastrous ecological footprint and allegations that the company delivering the sand had “paid taxes” to Isis.

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Coastal Sand is Being Depleted, and It’s Taking Our Beaches With It

News, Sand Mining
Sep
24

While conservationists champion the reduction of the world’s resources, one important material right at our toes has gone largely unnoticed. Coastal sands are being heavily mined, diminishing the world’s beaches.

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The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About

Beaches around the world are disappearing. No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste.

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Sand Mining

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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.


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  • Recent / Sand Mining

    Cemex sand mine decision anticipated before years’ end; California

    August 19th, 2016

    For the Cemex sand mine in Marina, and for those calling for it to be shut down, the hourglass may almost be out of sand.

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    Why are beaches disappearing in Morocco?

    August 5th, 2016

    Desirable coastal areas are being stripped of their beachfronts by the construction need for sand…

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    Illegal sand mining is a multi-million Crore scam: Study

    August 4th, 2016

    An NGO released a 300-page document and video clippings on illegal sand mining in coastal Karnataka (Southwest India) and that’s a scam worth more than Rs 850 crore per annum. (1 Crore Rupees = 10 Million Rupees).

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    State-owned miner may enter rare earth minerals, beach sand mining; India

    August 3rd, 2016

    State-owned miner may foray into rare earth minerals and beach sand mining, among others, according to official sources.

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    Israel: Police arrest contractors in illegal sand mining conspiracy

    July 27th, 2016

    Though it may sound counterintuitive to steal and sell sand in a desert region like the Middle East, sand mining is big business. For years sand mining has been a major source of income for organized crime figures.

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    Laos: Chinese demand for sand and cement delivers wage for Laotian workers – but is destroying the Mekong

    July 27th, 2016

    China world’s top consumer of sand – devouring more than 60 per cent of the global output and using more in four years than the US did in the entire 20th century.

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    West Bengal: Green hopes run dry as rampant mining goes unchecked

    July 24th, 2016

    Rampant illegal sand mining and excavation of boulders from river beds are threatening the ecology of several rivers and all the three major river basins in West Bengal. Estimates suggest that there are at least 500 quarries in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar and Cooch Behar districts alone.

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    Castles made of sand

    July 22nd, 2016

    How big industries’ use of sand has compromised the health of California’s beaches and what recent action against the CEMEX plant means for the Monterey Bay.

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    How to Steal a Beach

    July 18th, 2016

    In Northern California’s Monterey Bay, a peculiar thing happens every time there’s a storm. The California Coastal Commission says that a mining operation has been illegally taking precious sand for years.

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    Namibia: Illegal Sand Miners to Face The Music

    July 12th, 2016

    Ever-escalating illegal sand mining operations which have been largely ignored over the years could soon become a thing of the past as government has warned that offenders would face the consequences of their actions.

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