Category Archives: Sand Mining

Namibia: Environment Ministry to Punish Illegal Sand Miners

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Naukluft Coastal Dunes, Namibia. Photo courtesy of: © Brock Hesselsweet

Excerpts;

The environment ministry says it will have no mercy with people who are caught mining sand, and those who are found guilty of the offence face 25 years imprisonment or a fine of N$500,000, or both…

Read Full Article, All’Africa (09-06-2016)

Namibia: Illegal Sand Miners to Face The Music; All’Africa (07-06-2016)
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…

Uncontrolled Sand Mining Days Numbered, Namibia, All’Africa (01-04-2011)
While sand mining in the Swakop River is a crucial element of coastal development, concern is mounting over the uncontrolled sand mining taking place in the Swakop River, which is creating dangerous conditions as well as causing severe environmental damage…

The environmental loss of illegal sand mining in South Africa, ENCA (01-07-2016)

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Multi-Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac ©-2013.

The Birth of an Eco-movement: Namibia’s Coastal Parks, National Geographic (05-20-2011)
In 1990 newly independent Namibia became one of the world’s first nations to write environmental protection into its constitution…

Sand Mining in Namibia: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Looking to Holland to find more sand for Galveston Island, Texas

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Zandmotor near Scheveningen, Netherlands, February 16th, 2016. Photo source: Zandmotor

Excerpts;

For years, sand has been returned to eroded beaches and dunes on Galveston Island by bulldozers and backhoes at a cost of millions of dollars. Now, a new idea: let Mother Nature do the work…

Read Full Article, HPM University of Houston (08-30-2016)

Dutch Unveil Plan In War Against The Sea: A Sandbar, AFP / TerraDaily (12-20-2011)
In its age-old war to keep back the sea, low-lying Netherlands has dumped sand onto a surface larger than 200 football fields just off the coast, and will wait for nature to do the rest…

The Netherlands: Sand Motor conference to take place in September; Dredging News Online (08-09-2016)
Five years after the creation of the Sand Motor, the initial research results from this pilot project will be presented with respect to coastal safety, innovation, nature and recreation. It will be the central focus of a two-day international conference…

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Company makes new iron sand mining attempt

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Patea beach, South Taranaki, New Zealand. Photo source: ©© Trey Guin

Excerpts;

A plan to mine iron sands off the South Taranaki coast is back on the table…

Read Full Article; Radio NZ (08-24-2016)

Read Full Article, Reuters

“Iron Sand Mining Decision Expected, New Zealand”, Stuff Environment New Zealand

Ocean ironsands mining decision due tomorrow, The New Zealand Herald
Backed by Australian, American and New Zealand investors, TTR intends to raise as much as US$550 million in debt and equity to fund the project, which would vacuum up iron-rich seafloor sands, extracting the desired titano-magnetite for export to Asian steel mills…

Taranaki’s Black Sand Could Prove Golden, One News
A proposal to mine the seabed for 20 years is set to be considered by the Environmental Protection Authority tomorrow.

Sand Mining Opposition Grows, Taranaki Daily News
A wave of opposition to seabed mining off the south Taranaki coast is growing as divers, fishermen and local iwi rally against the proposal…

Iron Sands Mining Hearing: The Concerns, The New Zealand Herald

Sand scarcity hits Mumbai’s first artificial beach project

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Sand bags, Mumbai, India.
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource. The traditional building of one average-sized house requires 200 tons of sand; a hospital requires 3,000 tons of sand; each kilometer of highway built requires 30,000 tons of sand… A nuclear plant, a staggering 12 million tons of sand…” Captions and Photograph by “Sand Wars” Award-Winning Filmmaker: © Denis Delestrac (2013).

Excerpts;

The plan for Mumbai’s first artificial beach off Marine Drive faces a challenge due to huge shortage of sand. This was supposed to be one of the first reclamations in the city that was being undertaken for creating open spaces rather than real-estate projects.

Originally made up of seven islands, Mumbai has seen waves of reclamations, both legal and illegal. Most of these projects were real-estate driven.

Mumbai’s area has increased from 437.37 sq km in 1991 to 482 sq km now due to reclamations…

Read Full Article, DNA India

Tragedy of The Commons: Corrosive Growth of the Illegal Sand Mining Mafia, The Citizen (01-04-2016)
Not many people may know that illegal sand mining is a nationwide phenomena in India, and with spurt in housing and infrastructure projects, the illegal sand mining is thriving beyond the ambit of formal economy and law and order. Sand is everywhere and so is the sand mafia…

The Demand for Sand is so High There are Illegal Sand Mining Operations, The Smithsonian (07-20-2015)

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (2013)

What Happens to a Coral Reef When an Island is Built on Top? the Washington Post (07-11-2015)

Such Quantities of Sand, The Economist (07-27-2015)
Asia’s mania for reclaiming land from the sea spawns mounting problems…

Built on Sand: Singapore and the New State of Risk, Harvard Design Magazine (09-07-2015)
The island’s expansion has been a colossal undertaking. It is not merely a matter of coastal reclamation: Singapore is growing vertically as well as horizontally. This means that the nation’s market needs fine river sand—used for beaches and concrete—as well as coarse sea sand to create new ground…

Cemex sand mine decision anticipated before years’ end; California

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CEMEX extracts about 200,000 yds3 of sand from this back beach pond every year. Captions and Photograph courtesy of: © Gary Griggs

Excerpts;

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.

About 50 coastal advocates descended on the Aug. 10 California Coastal Commission meeting in Scotts Valley, urging the agency to expedite its effort to shut the mine down. They held signs reading “cease and desist” and “take a stand, save our sand.”

Their urgency comes five months after commission staff sent a notice of intent letter to Cemex on March 17, informing the company the commission plans to shut the mine down for violating six different sections of the California Coastal Act. That letter came after a roughly six-year investigation by the Coastal Commission into the mine, which is the only remaining coastal sand mine in the U.S., and has been widely cited by scientists as the primary reason southern Monterey Bay has the highest coastal erosion rate in the state…

Read Full Article, Monterey County Weekly (08-18-2016)

Castles made of sand, Santa Cruz Waves (06-23-2016)

How to Steal a Beach, Atlas Obscura (07-18-2016)
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…

Cemex mine reflects human hunger for sand, California; Monterey County Now(01-14-2016)
The disappearance of the beach reflects an alarming reality: Southern Monterey Bay, Marina in particular, has the highest coastal erosion rate in the state of California. For more than 20 years, scientists have speculated about the sand mine’s contribution to that erosion rate, and a 2008 study concluded it was the primary cause. The Cemex mine in Marina is the only remaining coastal sand mine in the entire United States. Which leads to new questions…

Monterey Bay, California: Beach Sand Mining from a National Marine Sanctuary; By Gary Griggs (09-01-2014)
The 30-mile long, continuous sandy shoreline around Monterey Bay is the most visited stretch of shoreline on the central coast. Yet, it holds the dubious distinction of being the only active beach sand mining operation along the entire United States shoreline. To make matters even worse, it all takes place along the shoreline of a protected National Marine Sanctuary. Something is seriously wrong with this picture…

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Mutlti-Awards Winner Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (©-2013)

Sand Thieves Are Eroding World’s Beaches For Castles Of Cash, by Martine Valo, Le Monde (09-2013)
The pillaging of sand is a growing practice in the world. This is because it represents 80% of the composition of concrete that it is the object of such greed…

Sand Mining in California: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Why are beaches disappearing in Morocco?

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

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Asilah’s beaches are a popular tourist attraction in the summer months. Captions and Photo source: © MEE/Matthew Greene

By Matthew Greene

Originally published in, and courtesy of: © Middle East Eye, August 4th, 2016. All rights reserved.

For much of the year the northern Moroccan coastal city of Asilah is quiet and relaxed. But come summer the population swells, absorbing both crowds of seasonal residents as well as an influx of tourists. Visitors come for the cool weather, the affordable prices and above all to enjoy Asilah’s wide sandy beaches.

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Yet during the last decade, Asilah’s beaches have been ravaged. Their natural beauty has been devastated due to years of sand mining, whereby large stretches of beachfront have been almost stripped bare of their sand. Their condition threatens severe long-term environmental damage as well as undermining the industry that is the main driving force behind this city’s economy.

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Workers mine sand from an Asilah beach in 2012. Photo source: Miriam Gutekunst / transformations-blog.com

Sand mining peaked between 2012 and 2014, when Asilah witnessed a sharp increase in the construction of apartments, homes, hotels and resort projects capitalising on a favourable property market. “They were building like mad men,” recalls Fouad Maslouhi, a textile trader and lifelong Asilah resident. He says that most of the investment came not from locals but from real estate developers and builders based in Tangier, Fez and elsewhere.

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A group of men dig sand from a hidden pocket of beach when the tide retreats. Captions and Photo source: © MEE/Matthew Greene

Amid the development boom, some builders began seeking out a cheaper alternative to purchasing cement, opting to exploit the sand of nearby beaches with which to mix their own concrete. “They just assumed that the sand would naturally replace itself,” says Kamal Arrifi, a certified mason who remembers the period well. After a few years of steady mining, it became clear that nature was struggling to keep pace with the unnatural removal.

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A worker fills a flour sack with sand on a slice of shoreline hidden by the cliff above. Captions and Photo source: © MEE/Matthew Greene

Arrifi says that most of those doing the digging were younger Moroccan men from around the city, desperate for work and money, adding: “It was reliable work and pay.” Groups of young men and boys as young as 12 would come down to the beach with shovels to fill up used flour sacks with sand before hoisting them onto carts to be moved to nearby work sites. In areas where the digging was most extreme, the beach was left resembling the surface of the moon.

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The extent of sand removal and cliff erosion: unfinished housing sits in the background. Captions and Photo source: © MEE/Matthew Greene

Asilah is not the only Moroccan city to have suffered sand exploitation. Similar operations have been documented along the country’s Atlantic shoreline in nearby Larache, as well as in Kenitra and as far south as Dakhla, sometimes on an industrial scale so large that entire kilometres of coastline have been destroyed. The common culprit is a demand for cement for which sand is an essential ingredient.

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Surface rock has become more exposed as a consequence of sand mining. Captions and Photo source: © MEE/Matthew Greene

Some residents in Asilah believe sand mining is only a symptom of a more murky reality: the world of local government bureaucracy, which has allowed construction to blossom without regulation. “I don’t know how people came to realise that they didn’t need permits or plans, but it was universal knowledge,” says Jan Williams, an American expat who has lived in Asilah for the past 20 years. “Everyone knew that it was cheaper to pay fines than acquire the proper paperwork.”

She believes the problem reflects the mood of post-Arab Spring Morocco. “A town engineer told me that in the past that they [the authorities] would have come and knocked down any illegal additions. Now, he said: ‘What would we do if someone pours gasoline over his head and sets himself on fire? We would have a problem, like in Tunisia’,” referring to Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor whose self-immolation in 2011 was widely recognised as the catalyst of the Tunisian Revolution which went on to inspire the Arab Spring.

Today, sand mining in Asilah has slowed to a trickle. Many housing projects sit empty and unfinished, a result of the money in the real estate market drying up. The environmental impact of the period, however, remains visible.

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The natural wall between the sea and housing is now giving way to erosion. Captions and Photo source: © MEE/Matthew Greene

Behind Asilah’s old medina, rock exposure reveals where high quantities of sand removal occurred. The absence has also led the shoreline to move further inland, allowing incoming tides to push past what was previously their natural threshold.

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The low tide reveals the shore retreat and sediment loss from sand mining. Captions and Photo source: © MEE/Matthew Greene

According to Abdou Khouakhi, a Moroccan oceanographer, surface loss and shore retreat are key warning signs of potential environmental and structural danger. “This may cause erosion and enable waves and storm surges to threaten inland and low-lying areas.”

He adds that it is important to look at beaches as part of a wider ecosystem that offers “a valuable environment and habitat for many species of fauna and flora”. The possible consequences of sand mining are not confined to shores, but may spread to estuaries and other habitats such as dunes and marshes that have significant relationships to the ocean.

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Illegal beach sand mining, Morocco. This photo was taken on the North Coast of Morocco, in Larache area, near Tangier (between 2005 and 2009). Photo courtesy of © SAF – Coastalcare.org

“It has always been about money, and that won’t ever change…”

It is the economic and cultural toll of sand mining that has finally persuaded the city to address the issue. This summer, sand was imported to a handful of Asilah’s beaches in an attempt to make them more accommodating and presentable for the tourist season. The measure, however, is only a temporary fix to a larger problem.

In Khouakhi’s opinion, Morocco needs to “adopt conservation and preservation methods rather than ‘defence’ approaches” that take the wider ecosystem into consideration. He prescribes an all-encompassing programme that emphasises stabilisation, vegetation and beach nourishment in addition to avoiding any future sand mining.

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Illegal beach sand mining, Morocco. This photo was taken on the North Coast of Morocco, in Larache area, near Tangier (between 2005 and 2009). Photo courtesy of © SAF – Coastalcare.org

But concerned residents express little confidence in the government’s willingness to take the long-term health of the environment into account, despite Morocco’s recent commitments to sustainable development policies. Doing so, they argue, conflicts with the state’s appetite for economic growth and profit. “It has always been about money, and that won’t ever change,” says Arrifi.

He points from a dirt road overlooking a small inlet of coast removed from beachgoers as a group of young men shovel sand into wheelbarrows. “If they [government] really cared, they would stop this.”

Sand Mining in Morocco: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

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

sand-mining-mumbai
Sand bags, Mumbai, India.
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource. The traditional building of one average-sized house requires 200 tons of sand; a hospital requires 3,000 tons of sand; each kilometer of highway built requires 30,000 tons of sand… A nuclear plant, a staggering 12 million tons of sand…” Captions and Photograph by “Sand Wars” Award-Winning Filmmaker: © Denis Delestrac (2013).

Excerpts;

National Environment Care Federation (NECF) convener Shashidhar Shetty said illegal sand mining in coastal Karnataka (Southwest India) is a scam worth more than Rs 850 crore per annum. (1 Crore Rupees = 10 Million Rupees).

NEFC an NGO released a 300-page document and video clippings on illegal sand mining allegedly taking place in undivided Dakshina Kannada district…

Note:
Crore is a unit in Indian numerical system which is equivalent to 10 million. So one crore Rupees is same as 10 million Rupees.
One Crore Rupee, as of 2015, is approximately equivalent to USD $148,237.

Read Full Article, Bangalore Mirror (08-02-2016)

NGO releases documents, sting videos on illegal sand mining; The Times of India (08-02-2016)

Trimex to invest Rs. 2,500 cr. on beach sand mining, Andhra Pradesh; The Hindu (01-19-2016)
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…

Activist’s action against illegal sand mining near Kihim beach, India; Mumbai Mirror (05-20-2016)

Illegal miners have field day in state, Times of India (12-25-2015)

India’s ‘New Cities’ Plan: Environment Not Included, Aljazeera (03-06-2015)

People on Coastline Suffering Due to Sand Mining, India; a NEWS X LIVE Video (08-19-2013)

Sand Mining Causes Erosion In Indias Beaches, A Youtube Video (11-05-2013)

Tragedy of The Commons: Corrosive Growth of the Illegal Sand Mining Mafia, The Citizen (01-04-2016)
Not many people may know that illegal sand mining is a nationwide phenomena in India, and with spurt in housing and infrastructure projects, the illegal sand mining is thriving beyond the ambit of formal economy and law and order. Sand is everywhere and so is the sand mafia…

Illegal Sand Mining is New Gold Rush in India, Gulf News (07-23-2013)

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (2013)

Sand Mining in India: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

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

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Photo courtesy of: “Sand Wars” Multi Award-Winning Filmmaker: © Denis Delestrac

Excerpts;

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

Read Full Article, Times of India (08-02-2016)

India’s beach sand-mining industry set to prosper under private sector (07-14-2016)
With the strangulation of rare earth supplies by China, India’s beach sand-mining industry has received a fillip to develop and expand…

Trimex to invest Rs. 2,500 cr. on beach sand mining, Andhra Pradesh; The Hindu (01-19-2016)
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…

Rare earth metals and their role in the built environment, Guardian UK

Mining For Smartphones – “Coast, Coral and Community,” A Documentary Series (05-29-2014)
A remote island of the Indonesian archipelago is being stripped off its forests and dug up for tin used in millions of mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Tin mining is taking its toll on the island’s coastline, damaging mangrove forests that help protect it from tropical storms and big waves…

Mining For Smartphones: Devastation In Indonesia, Bangka Islands; by Friends Of The Earth (11-24-2012)

People on Coastline Suffering Due to Sand Mining, India; a NEWS X LIVE Video (08-19-2013)

Sand Mining Causes Erosion In Indias Beaches, A Youtube Video (11-05-2013)

Tragedy of The Commons: Corrosive Growth of the Illegal Sand Mining Mafia, The Citizen (01-04-2016)
Not many people may know that illegal sand mining is a nationwide phenomena in India, and with spurt in housing and infrastructure projects, the illegal sand mining is thriving beyond the ambit of formal economy and law and order. Sand is everywhere and so is the sand mafia…

Illegal Sand Mining is New Gold Rush in India, Gulf News (07-23-2013)

Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report (GEA-March 2014)
Despite the colossal quantities of sand and gravel being used, our increasing dependence on them and the significant impact that their extraction has on the environment, this issue has been mostly ignored by policy makers and remains largely unknown by the general public.
In March 2014 The United Nations released its first Report about sand mining. “Sand Wars” film documentary by Denis Delestrac – first broadcasted on the european Arte Channel, May 28th, 2013, where it became the highest rated documentary for 2013 – expressly inspired the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to publish this 2014-Global Environmental Alert.

Sand Wars, An Investigation Documentary, By Award-Winning Filmmaker Denis Delestrac (2013)

Israel: Police arrest contractors in illegal sand mining conspiracy

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Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

For years sand mining has been a major source of income for organized crime figures.

Though it may sound counterintuitive to steal and sell sand in a desert region like the Middle East, sand mining is big business.

In February of last year, police arrested 20 suspects in a separate sand mining operation run out of the Yavne dunes along the coastline south of Tel Aviv. Those men also sold the sand to contractors for use in making cement and other building purposes…

Read Full Article; The Jerusalem Post (07-27-2016)

Dimona-area Sand Mining Could End Destruction of Israel’s Endangered Habitats, Haaretz (04-24-2012)