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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Sand Mining Throughout Coastal Liberia

The city of Buchanan, Liberia, is gradually being swept away by sea erosion. But there is an even more serious matter – an impending environmental danger- that should claim the urgent attention of the government. It is the issue of sand mining in Monrovia and its environs.

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Council Votes To End Sand Mining, Barbuda

The Barbuda Council has voted to end beach sand mining, bowing to pressure from within its ranks and environmentalists, after several reports indicated that the operation posed serious health and safety risks.

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Land Lost to Sand Dredging

News, Sand Mining

Cambodia has struggled with the environmental cost of sand mining from its rivers, and villagers who live along the banks of the Mekong River say that the land on which their houses are built is collapsing into the river because of the dredging.

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Illegal Dredging Causes Major Problems, Vietnam

News, Sand Mining

Unchecked and illegal sand dredging have been attributed to severe landslide that washed away houses into the Dong Nai River, in the South Central Coastal region of Vietnam.

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Barbuda Sandmining Nears Disaster Levels

News, Sand Mining

There have been renewed calls for an end to sand mining operations in Barbuda, as this activity has reached a stage that could spell an environmental disaster for Barbuda island..

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Dubai’s Staggering Growth

To expand the possibilities for beachfront development, Dubai undertook a massive and controversial engineering project to create hundreds of artificial islands along its Persian Gulf coastline. Built from sand dredged from the sea floor, the islands are shaped in recognizable forms such as palm trees. The construction of the various islands off the coast of Dubai has resulted in changes in area wildlife, coastal erosion and alongshore sediment transport, and wave patterns.


Some Relief for the Reef

United Nations experts will be presented with a petition that has more than 100,000 signatures on it, calling for an end to dredging and development near the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland.

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Emissions from Oil Sands Mining

Using data from a NASA satellite, researchers have found that the emission of pollutants from oil sands mining operations are comparable to the emissions from a large power plant or a moderately sized city.

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UN Team Examines Mining Threat to Great Barrier of Reef

A UN team has arrived in Australia to investigate possible damage to the Great Barrier Reef by the mining industry.

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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

    Sydney’s Beach protection attempt may carry price tag of $700m

    December 20th, 2010

    Preserving Sydney’s beaches against rising sea levels could cost more than $700 million over the next 50 years and would require the government to reverse its long-standing position regarding offshore sand mining.

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    Illegal Sea Sand Dredging Leaves Behind Environmental Mess, China

    December 8th, 2010

    China’s economic boom has triggered unprecedented number of construction projects. The regular supply of sand has almost run out and many construction firms have been using sand from the sea, illegally, and leaving behind an environmental mess. The coastline in Rizhao, Shandong, has retreated more than 100 meters due to excessive sea sand dredging.

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    Sand Mafia Fill 600 Trucks a Day, Thane District India

    December 3rd, 2010

    The district administration does not have manpower to control highways and look out for the sand mafia.

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    Bangladesh and Maldives: Sand Export Deal in Sight

    November 26th, 2010

    Maldives President Mohammed Nasheed expressed keenness to import sand from Bangladesh, as his country would be inundated if the sea level rises by only a metre.

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    Nigeria: Continuous Sand Mining and Dredging Cause Concerns


    November 12th, 2010

    Continued dredging in the state’s shorelines have been described as an illegal activity capable of causing major environmental challenge for Lagos in its bid for environmental sustainability.

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    Ban on Sand Dredging by Machines Suggested in Coastal Konkan, India

    October 25th, 2010

    After refusing to lift the stay to sand mining in Maharashtra, Bombay High Court suggested that the government may think of banning sand dredging by machines in the coastal Konkan area.

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    New Beach Sand Mining Restriction in The Turks and Caicos

    October 9th, 2010

    Measures are being put in place to regulate beach sand mining in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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    How sand mining mafia is plundering beaches and creeks

    October 6th, 2010

    The entire coastal region in India, especially the west coast, will be denuded of natural sand, if the sector is not regulated. Most of Maharashtra’s beaches will resemble lunar surfaces, with the sand mined completely, leaving only a rocky shore.

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    Lagos Expansion Into Atlantic Ocean, Nigeria

    October 5th, 2010

    By 2016, Lagos will get a new city to be built on nine million square metres of reclaimed land about 2.4 kilometres into the Atlantic Ocean, south of Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island.

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    Mechanised Sand Mining to Attract Criminal Action

    October 2nd, 2010

    Facing strong criticism from the Opposition and environmentalists over wisespread quarrying of sand in the Tamirabarani river basin in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts and Palar river basin in Vellore and Kanchipuram, chief minister M. Karunanidhi ordered the ban on mechanised sand quarrying.

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