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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Line in the sand, Video

News, Sand Mining
Mar
31

The world is running low on sand. It’s a basic ingredient in construction – think skyscrapers, shopping malls, roads and windows – and cities are growing faster and bigger than at any time in history. Legal supply can’t keep up. So now organised criminals are hitting pay dirt, pillaging millions of tonnes of sand from the India’s beaches, riverbeds and hillsides.

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How and why China is building islands in the South China Sea

China has been building manmade bases over some of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea since 2014, specifically targeting shallower areas, sandbanks, and reefs—islands, the shallower the better; a place that won’t sink under a load of concrete.

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Sand mining ban lifted on beach in Suriname, causing public backlash

Of the Suriname coast, sand mining barges sighted at Braamspunt beach, came as a shock to the public and to local NGOs alike, as beach sand mining had been banned since December 2015.

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India: Govt plans to ease coastal rules, allow land reclamation for commercial use

Bringing in some significant changes in the way it governs its coasts, the government is moving to remove the ban on reclamation of land in coastal areas for commercial or entertainment purposes while also allowing tourism activities even in ecologically sensitive areas along the shores.

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Support pours in for woman journalist being harassed by sand mining mafia, India

News, Sand Mining
Mar
23

Students, IT professionals and activists have pledged to stand by independent journalist Sandhya Ravishankar who is under attack for writing a series of articles on alleged illegal beach sand mining

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This Journalist Is Going Through Hell For Exposing Illegal Beach Sand Mining In Tamil Nadu

News, Sand Mining
Mar
19

All hell has broken loose since journalist Ravishankar published a four-part series on illegal beach sand mining along the Tamil Nadu coast…

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How to Steal a River

To feed an enormous building boom, India’s relentless sand miners have devastated the waterways that make life there possible.

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Sand Is in Such High Demand, People Are Stealing Tons of It

As strange as it may sound, sand is one of the world’s hottest commodities. The global construction boom has created an insatiable appetite for sand, the chief ingredient for making concrete. The problem is that sand isn’t as abundant as it used to be. And when high demand and high value meets scarcity, you open the doors to smuggling.

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He who controls the sand: the mining ‘mafias’ killing each other to build cities

In Kenya, as in most of the developing world, cities are growing at a frenzied pace. Creating buildings to house all the people and the roads to knit them together requires prodigious quantities of sand. As the price of sand goes up, the ‘mafias’ get more involved.

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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

    Sand mining ban lifted on beach in Suriname, causing public backlash

    March 27th, 2017

    Of the Suriname coast, sand mining barges sighted at Braamspunt beach, came as a shock to the public and to local NGOs alike, as beach sand mining had been banned since December 2015.

    Read More

    India: Govt plans to ease coastal rules, allow land reclamation for commercial use

    March 24th, 2017

    Bringing in some significant changes in the way it governs its coasts, the government is moving to remove the ban on reclamation of land in coastal areas for commercial or entertainment purposes while also allowing tourism activities even in ecologically sensitive areas along the shores.

    Read More

    Support pours in for woman journalist being harassed by sand mining mafia, India

    March 23rd, 2017

    Students, IT professionals and activists have pledged to stand by independent journalist Sandhya Ravishankar who is under attack for writing a series of articles on alleged illegal beach sand mining

    Read More

    This Journalist Is Going Through Hell For Exposing Illegal Beach Sand Mining In Tamil Nadu

    March 19th, 2017

    All hell has broken loose since journalist Ravishankar published a four-part series on illegal beach sand mining along the Tamil Nadu coast…

    Read More

    How to Steal a River

    March 9th, 2017

    To feed an enormous building boom, India’s relentless sand miners have devastated the waterways that make life there possible.

    Read More

    Sand Is in Such High Demand, People Are Stealing Tons of It

    March 6th, 2017

    As strange as it may sound, sand is one of the world’s hottest commodities. The global construction boom has created an insatiable appetite for sand, the chief ingredient for making concrete. The problem is that sand isn’t as abundant as it used to be. And when high demand and high value meets scarcity, you open the doors to smuggling.

    Read More

    He who controls the sand: the mining ‘mafias’ killing each other to build cities

    March 4th, 2017

    In Kenya, as in most of the developing world, cities are growing at a frenzied pace. Creating buildings to house all the people and the roads to knit them together requires prodigious quantities of sand. As the price of sand goes up, the ‘mafias’ get more involved.

    Read More

    Ignoring state threats, firm keeps sucking sand from Monterey Bay

    March 3rd, 2017

    The Lapis Sand Plant, in operation since 1906, is the nation’s last coastal sand mine. The California Coastal Commission has threatened to close the plant, but the company refuses to relinquish its claim to the uniquely coarse amber-colored Monterey sand, which it calls “Lapis Lustre.” But Cemex is the world’s second largest building materials company, and any attempt to kick it out is likely to immerse the state in years of expensive litigation.

    Read More

    Sand mining: the global environmental crisis you’ve probably never heard of

    February 27th, 2017

    From Cambodia to California, industrial-scale sand mining is causing wildlife to die, local trade to wither and bridges to collapse. And booming urbanisation means the demand for this increasingly valuable resource is unlikely to let up.

    Read More

    Surveillance system, special squads to stop beach mineral mining; India

    February 26th, 2017

    Deployment of sand mining surveillance system and patrol by special squads along coastal districts, especially those rich with major minerals, are some of the steps contemplated by Tamil Nadu government to prevent plunder of major minerals in the four southernmost coastal districts.

    Read More