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

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

News, Sand Mining

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

News, Sand Mining

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

News, Sand Mining

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

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

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

News, Sand Mining

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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Maha Oya Sand Mining To Affect Millions, Sri Lanka

News, Sand Mining

Excessive sand mining activities in the Maha Oya river had caused reduction of sand supply to the coastline, breaking the natural sand equilibrium of the beaches, a study reveals. The coastal stretch from Negombo to Chilaw has been identified as the most eroded coastline in Sri Lanka, of which between 80 and 85 per cent of the degradation is attributed to exacerbated sand mining in the Maha Oya.

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Bill Marks Shoals as Sources for Beach Sand, NC

Senate leaders hit the brakes last week on a fast-moving set of amendments to state environmental laws with several coastal-related provisions, including one that would for the first time target North Carolina’s three great capes as a sources of sand for beach re-nourishment.

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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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Sign the petition to end global sand mining.

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  • Recent / Sand Mining

    Western Sahara: Illegal beach sand mining in Laâyoune

    May 18th, 2016

    Allegations of illegal beach sand mining activities, from Spanish mining company, in Laayoune, Western Sahara

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    Borneo – Malaysia: Machinery seized over illegal sand mining

    May 12th, 2016

    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

    May 9th, 2016

    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

    May 2nd, 2016

    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

    April 28th, 2016

    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

    April 27th, 2016

    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

    April 12th, 2016

    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

    April 9th, 2016

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

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    Sand Mining at Poyang Lake, China

    April 7th, 2016

    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

    April 6th, 2016

    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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