Category Archives: Sand Mining

Java Residents Protest Iron Mine

Photo courtesy of: © Denis Delestrac


“I want to return to being a farmer and to feeding my family, but I will continue to oppose the mine project,” said Tukijo, 47, speaking to IRIN from the main prison in Yogyakarta City, in central Java, Indonesia.

Tukijo, who, like many Indonesians, goes by only one name, was given a three-year jail sentence in March 2012, after allegedly abducting an employee of a mining company – a charge he denies.

His arrest comes after several years of escalating opposition by residents of Kulon Progo, a coastal farming community in Yogyakarta Region, to a project to mine iron deposits in the sand beneath their farms.

“We want to preserve our environment, and we want to exercise our right as citizens to stay on our land,” he said.

He and other community members say he was jailed in an effort to silence the community’s opposition.

National problem

According to Indonesia’s Central Bureau of Statistics, mining accounts for 12 percent of Indonesia’s GDP; the country is one of the world’s largest producers of tin, copper and coal.

But the push to exploit natural resources is increasingly being matched by resistance from affected communities, who often feel these projects lack regulation and that they benefit little.

“There are many conflicts linked to land disputes in a number of areas, and these usually involve the local communities and plantation owners, mining concession holders or other institutions,” a parliamentarian told the Jakarta Globe.

Twenty-five farmers were shot, resulting in three deaths, during conflicts related to land disputes last year, according to the Consortium for Agrarian Reform.

In 2012, there were 7,196 land disputes, up from 2,791 in 2012, the National Land Agency, a government office, recorded. Of these, only 60 percent were resolved, said Kurnia Toha, a spokeman for the office.

Indonesia’s parliament is reviewing an amendment the 1960 Agrarian Law intended to curb disputes related to land concessions.

In January, the governor of East Kalimantan Province announced a one-year ban on new permits for forestry, mining and plantation concessions, citing the need to reduce land disputes between companies and local communities, media reports say.

“People now believe these projects are always damaging to the environment and don’t benefit local communities, so there is more and more opposition to them,” says Tommy Apriando, a Yogyakarta-based researcher for Mongabay-Indonesia, a local environmental publication.

Kulon Progo’s iron sand mining project, a joint venture between Australia’s Indo Mines Limited and Indonesia’s Jogja Magasa Mining, began in 2007 on a sliver of land owned by the Sultan of Yogyakarta.

But many local residents opposed this first pilot phase of the project. Their concern, said Suparlan, the director of the Yogyakarta office of Walhi, an environmental NGO, is that extracting iron from the beach’s sand could weaken the barrier against salt intrusion from the ocean into coastal farms.

The mining venture has since proposed expanding its operation to cover a 1.8km by 22km area. The area is currently home to some 20,000 people.

Residents of Kulon Progo have refused to discuss land sales with either the government or mining conglomerate.


Local residents say the project has progressed with little transparency.

Isyanti, a local resident, said the company began exploring the project without engaging local residents. She interpreted the silence as a sign that “the company would only speak with us when it felt it had to”.

She said that in 2010, the government held an event in Kulon Progo billed as a “public meeting” for community members to engage in dialogue with the government and air questions and grievances. The hitch, she said, was that members of the local community were barred from attending.

“The government says they are representatives of the community and speak on our behalf, but their actions suggest to us that they only serve private interests in this case,” she said.

However, according to Junianto, head of government’s Kulon Progo mining department, the situation on the ground has changed.

“There was some initial opposition, but we have conducted a series of discussions with the community to make them understand that the project is for their own benefit and will not damage the environment. Members of the community have been involved in the reclamation, and the company has set up a pilot plant to give the public an idea of what the plant will look like.”


Meanwhile, 34-year-old Toto Widodo, a local chili farmer, predicts tensions between residents and local authorities will continue. Another farmer, Prapto Utomo, 53, said he would resist “at any cost” pressure to sell his land.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an Indonesian academic in Yogyakarta, who worked with the government as it assessed Kulong Progo’s mining potential, said public attitudes about the project had become so negative that he and his colleagues have been forced to distance themselves from it.

Original Article, IRIN

State Allows “Sand Mining” On Plum Island Beach, MA

Sandy Point beach, Plum Island, Massachusetts.
Plum Island, Massachusetts is an island located off the northeast coast of Massachusetts, north of Cape Ann. It is a barrier island approximately 11 miles (18 km) in length. Photo source: ©© Heal The Bay


The commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection has given Plum Island homeowners permission to “mine” sand in an effort to replenish the dunes here…

Read Full Article, Newburyport News

View a Photo Gallery: Plum Island (MA) Erosion/a>

Nevis Government Says It Will No Longer Tolerate iIlegal Sand Mining

Nevis Island, west coast. Photo source: ©© Brian Tibbets


Illegal sand miners across the island of Nevis have been warned to stop their illegal activities or face equipment seizure, arrest and prosecution…

Read Full Article, Nevis Island Administration

Illegal sand miners warned to desist or face consequences

Illegal Sand-Mining Threatens Sea Turtle Population, St Kitts-Nevis (Uploaded 03-19-2011)
The biodiversity of St Kitts and Nevis, including the sea turtle population, is under threat due to the increase in illegal sand-mining that is taking place.

Raised Awareness on Illegal Sand Mining, St Kitts (Uploaded 02-13-2011)
Illegal sand mining across St. Kitts and Nevis, has become more pronounced with the boom in the construction industry. As a result, several problems have arisen and it became necessary, as a means of deterrence, to educate the general public on the negative effects of the unlawful activity.

How illegal sand mining in Sierra Leone is destroying the local beaches

Sierra Leone, beach sand mining. Photo source: © Tommy Trenchard / IRIN


It all started after the civil war in our country when most of the houses were burned, leaving people homeless. When people were finally ready to rebuild their homes, contracts were given to Chinese and Senegalese construction companies which led to a huge demand for sand. Now, sand mines have become a place where otherwise unemployed young people can find work.

It began slowly on the beaches close to Freetown, Hamilton and Lakka with companies in need of sand to make asphalt for road building or concrete for buildings generating a new image of success and development in Freetown.

But then suddenly, in February of last year (2012), this ‘free sand for all’ bonanza exploded…

Read Full Article, The Ecologist

Watch: Sand mining, Obama Beach, John Obey, Sierra Leone Feb 2013

A Youtube Video, Uploaded Feb. 25, 2013 by Eimerspeter
“As I write this I can hear the lorries bounding down the path towards the beach next door. John Obey’s beach has been a source of sand for the growing construction industry for almost 2 years now…”

Sand-Mining Threatens Homes And Livelihoods In Sierra Leone, IRIN News
Round-the-clock sand-mining on beaches within a few kilometres of Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown is having a devastating effect on the coastline, destroying property, and damaging the area’s hopes of a tourism revival.

Sand Mining In Sierra Leone – In Pictures; BBC News

Destroying Paradise To Make Concrete Blocks: Sand Mining In Sierra Leone
A new threat has emerged that risks destroying Sierra Leone’s eco-tourism untapped opportunities for sustainable development: Sand Mining. The free-sand-for-all bonanza just exploded. Without permits, hundreds of trucks attack the beaches on a daily basis, hiring local boys as daily laborers to destroy their own communities…


PETITION: Stop Sand Mining and Protect the Beautiful Beaches of Sierra Leone
“Sierra Leone has one of the most beautiful costal landscapes in the world with stunning rainforest rolling down to amazing white sand beaches boasting rare wildlife including nesting sea turtles and long snout crocodiles. The beaches are rapidly being removed for construction all over the peninsula – up to 100 trucks a day loading sand up for sale in Freetown. We need to protect the beaches and the natural life they support for future generations and the potential employment that can be created for the nation via tourism.”—Eimer Peters /

Stop Sand Mining In Sierra Leone, A Petition On FaceBook

Sierra Leone, beach sand mining. “Unlawful and unsustainable sand mining is destroying one of Sierra Leone’s prize assets: her beaches.” Captions and Photo source: Change.Org

Outrage Over Proposed Beach Sand Mining in France

Anglet, France. Photo source: ©© Akynou
Anglet lies on the southern western coast of France, between the two larger towns of Biarritz and Bayonne.
Anglet’s coastal quartiers, the “Chiberta and Chambre d’Amour”, both offer long expanses of sandy surfing beaches, which are part of the Côte Basque.

Empêchons la vente du sable des plages publiques d’Anglet
By SOS Littoral France;

“Il est totalement scandaleux et inadmissible que le sable des plages d’Anglet fasse l’objet d’une opération commerciale. Ce sable, véritable héritage de notre passé, est un bien public qui appartient aux plages, zones récréatives fréquentées par les baigneurs, les surfeurs, les marcheurs, les joggeurs, les pêcheurs et les touristes. De plus il est indispensable dans la lutte contre l’érosion et le recul du trait de côte financés par les contribuables de l’agglomération Côte Basque Adour (ACBA). Si lors des campagnes de dragages, les conditions météorologiques sont défavorables à l’engraissement des plages, ce sable peut être stocké au large en attendant alors que s’il est déposé à terre et vendu, il sera perdu pour toujours. Il faut évoluer vers une gestion durable du sable littoral ce qui n’est pas le cas aujourd’hui avec la modification de cet arrêté. Mobilisons-nous massivement pour sauver les plages d’Anglet en signant et en diffusant rapidement cette pétition.”—SOS Littoral France

It is an utter shame that Anglet beaches’sand is being sold. This very sand, a true heritage from our past, is of public nature and does belong to our beaches and to all the beach lovers, swimmers, surfers, hickers, fishermen and tourists. Sand plays an indispensable role as natural buffer against coastal erosion, erosion that has become so costly for our local taxpayers (ACBA). Sand dredging, beach renourishment and sand harvesting operations only hinder at too high of a cost, the natural process of beach accretion. We do need to embrace sustainable ways to manage our precious coastal environment, thus combat the unsustainable current legislation.

Let’s save the sand and the beaches of Anglet! Please sign in the Petition: Stop Sand Mining on Anglet’s beaches

Original Article, SOS Littoral France, AVAAZ


Learn More

PETITION: Stop Sand Mining on Anglet’s beaches

Plus d’informations, Sable d’Anglet, France, SOS Littoral France

Surfing in Anglet / Biarritz

Empty Promises Over Sand Mining, Barbuda

Barbuda. Photo source: ©© Sharkbait


As sand mining in Barbuda continues, concerns mount as to when this practice will ever finally stop. Sand mining is a direct cause of erosion, and impacts local wildlife.

It causes problems for those who rely on fishing for their livelihoods, as well as the destruction of picturesque beaches…

Read Full Article, Caribarena

Barbuda Sandmining Nears Disaster Levels, Caribarena (Uploaded 03-24-2012)

Kenya: Sand Mining Threatens To Displace Thousands

Photo source: © Hezron Ochiel / IRIN


Every day, 180 trucks chug their way to the banks of a river near Lake Victoria and leave laden with sand. Their cargo fuels Kenya’s construction boom and the local labour market, but the extraction could spell disaster for the village of Nyadorera.

Government officials told IRIN that sand harvesting along the banks of River Nzoia, the biggest source of income for many of the area’s residents, risks displacing some 7,000 people.

“The village (along the bank) of the river is on the brink of collapse. The water has eaten most sections of the riverbanks, prompting its total collapse and thus threatening the lives of over 7,000 people,” Reuben Dienya, the regional water conservation officer with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, told IRIN.

Residents say the harvesting has led to frequent flash flooding.

“We have witnessed a section of the village sinking due to landslides, and many of us have to vacate our homes when it rains,” James Otango, a resident, said.

The Kenyan government has already issued an alert over possible flash floods in various parts of the country.


Sand harvesting is common in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid areas, but left uncontrolled it depletes water catchment areas, and experts say there is need to promote sustainability by striking a balance between it and environmental conservation.

“Sand harvesting employs thousands of people, and with a booming construction industry now, it won’t end any soon. But there should be regulations like limiting the distance it should be from people’s homes, [and] planting trees along the rivers where it is done so that it doesn’t create disasters,” Daniel Mwamo, an environmental specialist at Maseno University, said.

Some of the most notable environmental effects of sand harvesting include the drying of aquifers, riverbank and riverbed erosion, water and air pollution, and the loss of valuable trees and animal species.

Many people along River Nzoia have had their crops swept away by flood waters, raising fears of food insecurity.

“My crops had started to do well, but the river flooded my farm and swept it away. Now I have nobody to complain to, and I don’t know what to do with my farm,” Lydia Otieno told IRIN.

Need for enforcement

Under the Environment Management and Coordination Act, sand harvesting can only happen after a proper environmental impact assessment has been carried out and with the approval of technical sand harvesting committees.

Officials, however, told IRIN that a lack of resources and interference from political leaders had hampered the enforcement of these regulations.

“We can’t carry out surveillance because we are thin on staff and so enforcing regulations is not easy. But, again, when you stop these activities, politicians will always influence [the process, ensuring] that they continue because of support [it wins them] during elections,” Dienya said.

School attendance is also often affected, as many children join the sand harvesting business to earn a living for themselves and their families.

“Our family had no food, sometimes I went to school on an empty stomach, and that affected my performance. Being an orphan, nobody seems to bother about my welfare. This forced me to look for alternative source of livelihood, and [sand harvesting] was available,” Lucas Onyango, 12, told IRIN.

Original Article, IRIN News

The Women Sand Thieves, A Thalassa Documentary
450 km off the west coast of Africa, close to Mauritania and Senegal, with rocky mountains, lush valleys and sandy beaches, Cap Verde 10-islands archipelago appears as a small corner of paradise lost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Yet, on the beaches, they are thieves, almost exclusively women, who collect sand, to be sold to the slow yet ever expanding construction industry. young girls are pulled away from school, as early as 12 years old (as depicted in the above documentary) and brought to the island shores, most of them crying at first, then docile, ultimately resigned to a strenuous and unsustainable life of sand stealing…

Jurong Island Reclamation Works Set for March 15

Jurong island. Photo source: ©© Bill Rosgen


Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has informed the shipping, harbour craft and pleasure craft communities in Singapore’s waters that the reclamation of Jurong Island (Phase 4) and construction of jetty off Temasek Fairway will take place from 15 March to 14 August 2013…

Read Full Article; Dredging Today

Singapore And Jurong Island Reclamation

View Video: Singapore Extends Its Coastlines With Illegally Dredged Sand
Singapore, one of the world’s most prosperous and fastest growing economies, is being accused of expanding its coastline with illegally dredged sand from neighboring states.

Jurong Island is an artificial island located to the southwest of the main island of Singapore, off Jurong Industrial Estate. It was formed from the amalgamation of seven offshore islands. This was done through land reclamation. Captions and Photo source: ©© Vsion / Wikipediacloudzilla