Tormin’s mining practice, which deviated significantly from the original environmental authorisation provisions of the mining license, has been in the spotlight since the mine began operations in March 2014. These include the construction of structures on the beach zone, mining directly on the beaches, and questions about a massive collapse of the sea cliffs below the mine processing plant.
Research shows that KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape are home to more than 200 illegal sand mining operations. Umvoti River sand is as good as gold in the construction industry. Its stellar components have placed it among the best sand in South Africa for building purposes. But this comes at a great environmental loss.
The time has come for the government to consider a total ban on any sand mining in South African rivers to curb serious environmental damage and the growing risk of severe erosion damage to coastal cities like Durban.
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.
Ethekwini Municipality has secured a high court order, shutting down what it says is an illegal sand mining operation in an environmentally sensitive area in Cato Ridge, near Durban.
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.
The community of Nagonha in northern Mozambique sits on a tall dune with lush greenery on the one side, and a turquoise Indian ocean on the other. It should have been the kind of unspoiled landscape that Mozambique’s growing tourism industry is beginning to take advantage of. Instead, a Chinese mining company has irrevocably tarnished the scenery, and people’s lives.
The world’s most famous sharks are the great whites off Cape Town, featured in the popular “Air Jaws” series. But now these sharks have mostly gone missing, and some experts blame a fishery for depleting the smaller sharks that the great whites feed on.
The insatiable demand of the global building boom has unleashed an illegal market in sand. Gangs are now stealing pristine beaches to order and paradise islands are being dredged and sold to the construction industry.