Beach sand mining, South Africa.
“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 © Denis Delestrac
Natural sand from estuary and coastal land is one of South Africa’s most valuable resources.
However, there has recently been a drastic increase in uncontrolled and unauthorised sand mining activities in rivers, valleys and estuaries throughout the country…
South Africa Dune Mining Whips Up Sandstorm, CNN (07-09-2012)
For centuries, the massive sand dunes overlooking the warm waters off the South African east coast have created a majestic scenery, acting as a natural wall between the sea and the land environment. In recent years, mining companies have been eager to dig inside these dunes to extract the valuable minerals they contain…
Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks: A UNEP report
Sand and gravel are mined world-wide and account for the largest volume of solid material extracted globally. Formed by erosive processes over thousands of years (John, 2009), they are now being extracted at a rate far greater than their renewal. Furthermore, the volume being extracted is having a major impact on rivers, deltas and coastal and marine ecosystems (Figure 1), results in loss of land through river or coastal erosion, lowering of the water table and decreases in the amount of sediment supply. 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.