Category Archives: Sand Mining

EPA Implicates Fracking In Pollution

sand mining
Sand mining. Photo source: ©© MJM


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday for the first time that fracking, a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells, may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution.

The practice is called hydraulic fracturing and involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to open fissures and improve the flow of oil or gas to the surface…

Read Full Article, AP

EPA’s Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources, EPA

Sand Mining Is Booming Along With Fracking

Fishing Community Against Mining Sea For Sand, India

Photograph: © SAF


Fishing community in the Kerala state, under the banner of the National Fishworkers Forum, has opposed finance minister K M Mani’s suggestion to mine sea sand and use it for construction in place of river sand.

The Forum’s leader claimed that the sea off the coast of the country was mined for sand which was used to develop the Singapore airport, and referring to the tsunami which struck Indonesia, added if the government decided to go ahead with any such move that would endanger lives of the general public and threaten the livelihood of the fishing community in particular…

Read Full Article, The Times Of India

Chinese Boat Seized Over Illegal Sand Mining In Kinmen, Taiwan

Sand barges, Hong-Kong bay. Photograph: © SAF


Coastguards have arrested the captain of a chinese sand dredger illegally dredging sand in Kinmen waters.

So far it is the fourth chinese boat arrested for attempting to steal sand from around the island…

Read Full Article, Focus Taiwan News

Photo source: ©© Trey Menefee
Kinmen, is a small archipelago of several islands, and in 1995, it was turned into a national park. It’s a small chunk of Fujian province occupied by Republic Of China (ROC) forces and administered from Taiwan, lying only 2km off the coast of mainland China. Kinmen is an odd remnant from the bitter civil war between communist and Nationalist forces, when Communist soldiers trying to invade Taiwan made an ill-fated beach landing on this island, and this struggle is a major part of Kinmen’s own history. Caption: Lonely Planet

Read More About Kinmen Island, The New York times

Kinmen, The Island Mao Couldn’t Capture, The Independent

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Environment Ministry Removes Obstacles To Sand Mining, India

kerala coastline
Kerala coastline, India. Photo source: ©© Manoj MP


“The Union government’s approval for coastal sand mining by local communities using manual methods will have disastrous consequences as the provisions of the order will be twisted by the vested interests,” according to Renjan Mathew Varghese, State Director of WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature)-India.

A recent survey by WWF-India along the coast of the Kerala State, had revealed the frightening picture of the extent of illegal coastal beach sand-mining being conducted by organised groups in various places.

“Under the cover of night, truck-loads of beach sand are being transported away to be used for construction purposes,” he said.

Earlier, beach sand was not used for mainline constructions owing to its saline nature. “As we have exhausted all our rivers of its sand deposits, the beach sand is being washed with freshwater to reduce salinity and then mixed with normal sand and sold in the open market,” Mr. Varghese said…

Read Full Article, The Hindu

Environment Ministry Removes Obstacles To Sand Mining, Deccan Herald
Mining of sand from rivers and estuaries by traditional coastal communities is now possible with the Environment Ministry removing the obstacles to it in coastal states with certain conditions. The Ministry’s decision came amid growing concerns by enviromentalists that sand mining was causing depletion of the rivers and developers seeking permission for the same…

Sand Mining In Badagry Suspended Due To Environmental Degradation; Nigeria

Photo source: ©© Sam Bukot


Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has ordered the suspension of all forms of surface sand mining in Badagry area of Lagos, southwest Nigeria, as a result of environmental degradation.

The ban is contained in an Executive Order issued by the governor directing the Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to enforce compliance with the order.

The suspension is sequel to a petition written by a resident in Badagry, informing the governor about the activities of sand miners in the area and how they had degraded the environment.

The petitioner attached over 20 pictures of environmental degradation to the petition, warning that if surface sand mining activities were not stopped in the area, it might lead to a disaster, like the Tsunami and others that had occurred in the Western world…

Read Full Article, in Dredging Today

Illegal sand mining threatens Suvali’s ecosystem, India

Suvali beach, lies along the western coast of India and the Arabian Sea. It is 28kms from Surat,the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India’s Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. Caption Wikipedia. Photo source: ©© V.Valdzen


Continuous illegal sand mining from costal village near Surat has created threat upon the existence of the beaches.

Miners are pumping out sand without any fear, while the administration appears totally unaware about the entire situation. Villagers have informed government officials repeatedly, but mining is going on without any problem.

Sea beach at Suvali is a perfect entertainment spot for many Surtis, due to its natural beauty. However, the beach is rapidly loosing its sheen owing to continuous illegal sand mining from various patches. Mining goes on around the clock, with numerous labourers engaged in digging sand directly from beach…

Read Full Article, Daily News & Analysis

Sand Mining in India: Learn More, Coastal Care

Global Sand Mining: Learn More, Coastal Care

Taxes on natural resources reduce use of raw materials

Dunes de sable maroc
Sand dunes, northern coast, Morocco. Photo source: © SAF

Taxes on natural resources reduce use of raw materials
By The European Commission, Science For Environment Policy

A policy that taxes virgin natural resources (resources that are used for the first time) can be a way of conserving limited resources. This type of tax can also reduce environmental damage, by encouraging the use of less harmful materials or recycled materials that serve the same purpose. This avoids the waste and emissions associated with extraction of raw materials and with the processing of products made from the natural resources.

Although taxes are not always the best way to reduce the extraction of raw materials, or to reduce environmental damage, they can be a second-best option for example, where emissions are difficult to monitor. The first-best option (but not always feasible) would be to address the problem directly rather than indirectly. In addition, tax systems are often less costly to administer than some other environmental monitoring programmes. The study examined the impact of taxes on natural/raw materials, such as gravel, sand and stone aggregate, in three European countries: Sweden, Denmark and the UK as a way of promoting alternative or recycled materials.

In Sweden, a tax on natural gravel was introduced in 1996. The aim was to promote the use of crushed rock and recycled materials, such as concrete, instead, as supplies were becoming limited in parts of the country. Although the tax encouraged substitution with other materials, the tax is applied uniformly across the country, even in regions where shortages in natural gravel is less of a problem and the importance of natural gravel as a ground water reservoir material remains limited.

In Denmark, a new tax on extracted raw materials (sand, gravel, stones, peat, clay and limestone) was introduced in 1990 in conjunction with a waste tax, to reduce the use of these natural materials and to promote the use of recycled products, such as construction and demolition waste. The combined aggregate and waste taxes have produced a greater demand for recycled substitutes: in 1985 only 12% of construction and demolition waste was recycled, compared with 94% in 2004. The Danish model of sorting construction and demolition waste at source is an effective strategy of increasing the supply of recycled material, according to the study.

In the UK, a tax on aggregates (sand, gravel and crushed rock used in construction) was introduced in 2002, primarily to reduce the environmental impact of quarries. However, this tax is considered to be a relatively inefficient way to reduce the environmental impacts of quarrying. Taxing aggregates can have mixed results, in particular when the tax is used to address multiple environmental problems; it would be better to target each problem explicitly. In addition, site-specific conditions have a major influence on the environmental impacts of quarrying and although a uniform tax may reduce overall demand, it does not necessarily change polluting behaviour. Despite this, the high tax rate has encouraged a higher recycling rate in the UK.

Although aggregates in construction represent only a small percentage of overall costs, aggregate taxes have reduced the use of natural aggregates and to some extent encouraged the use of substitute materials in these three countries. However, greater incentives to recycle wastes are needed, as well as other best management practices, like sorting of wastes, since taxes on virgin materials alone may have little impact on recycling behaviour. Taxes should be evaluated within the context of the policy mix used to encourage the use of recycled materials over newly extracted materials.

Taxation is only one of the measures available that can reduce demand in the aggregates market. For example, in some countries, governments have provided distorting subsidies that keep the prices of raw materials low, for instance, to promote construction of roads. These subsidies to consumers could be removed.

Original Article

European Commission, Europa

Sand mining Is Booming Along With Fracking

sand mining
Sand mining. Photo source: ©© MJM


To squeeze hydrocarbons out of shale through hydraulic fracturing of the rock, the process known as fracking, producers need to pump an enormous amount of sand (and other materials) into the ground.

Sand mining, causing erosion and run-off that can fill nearby rivers with sediment, and reducing oxygen levels for fish and plants, is currently booming in Texas, as drilling companies are demanding tons of it…

“Ron Jordan picked up a handful of damp sand as it cascaded off a broad conveyor belt, eventually bound for trucks or railcars that will take it to eager buyers in South Texas and around the country.

“This is the good stuff,” Jordan said as he fingered the golden-colored sand. “This is what everybody wants.”

The sand felt more grainy than the sand on your average Texas beach. It was beach sand, though, that two days earlier had been mined from sandstone formed from an ancient sea that lapped what was shoreline here more than 500 million years ago…

Sand dollar. Photo source: ©© MJardeen

Read Full Article, My San Antonio News

Sand mining emerges as another fracking threat, Reuters
Fracking, the latest craze in the quest to produce oil and gas, has been blamed for environmental problems ranging from flammable tap water to minor earthquakes. Now a new risk is emerging: Sand Mining. Because, to squeeze hydrocarbons out of shale through hydraulic fracturing of the rock, the process known as fracking, producers need to pump an enormous amount of sand and other materials into the ground.