sand mining

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Sand mining is a practice that is used to extract sand, mainly through an open pit. However, sand is also mined from beaches, inland dunes and dredged from ocean beds and river beds. It is often used in manufacturing as an abrasive, for example, and it is used to make concrete. It is also used in cold regions to put on the roads by municipal plow trucks to help icy and snowy driving conditions, usually mixed with salt or another mixture to lower the freezing temperature of the road surface (have the precipitations freeze at a lower temperature). Sand dredged from the mouths of rivers can also be used to replace eroded coastline.

Another reason for sand mining is the extraction of minerals such as rutile, ilmenite and zircon, which contain the industrially useful elements titaniumand zirconium. These minerals typically occur combined with ordinary sand, which is dug up, the valuable minerals being separated in water by virtue of their different densities, and the remaining ordinary sand re-deposited.

Sand mining is a direct cause of erosion, and also impacts the local wildlife. For example, sea turtles depend on sandy beaches for their nesting, and sand mining has led to the near extinction of gharials (a species of crocodiles) in India. Disturbance of underwater and coastal sand causes turbidity in the water, which is harmful for such organisms as corals that need sunlight. It also destroys fisheries, causing problems for people who rely on fishing for their livelihoods.

Removal of physical coastal barriers such as dunes leads to flooding of beachside communities, and the destruction of picturesque beaches causes tourism to dissipate. Sand mining is regulated by law in many places, but is still often done illegally. Globally, it is a $70 billion industry with sand costing up to $90 per cubic yard.


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Ghazal Jafari (@gjafari) tweeted at 9:14 AM – 2 Jan 2018 :

“Sand mining has erased at least two dozen Indonesian islands since 2005. The stuff of those islands mostly ended up in Singapore, which needs titanic amounts to continue its program of artificially adding territory by reclaiming land from the sea.” (

Annick Labeca (@ULGlobalCities) tweeted at 6:18 AM – 3 Jan 2018 :

The “mafia,” as people called them, had for years been robbing the village of a coveted natural resource, one of the most sought-after commodities of the 21st century: sand. (

Annick Labeca (@ULGlobalCities) tweeted at 6:18 AM – 3 Jan 2018 :

That’s right. Paleram Chauhan was killed over sand. And he wasn’t the first, or the last. #violence #naturalresources #sand (

Annick Labeca (@ULGlobalCities) tweeted at 6:19 AM – 3 Jan 2018 :

OUR CIVILIZATION IS literally built on sand. People have used it for construction since at least the time of the ancient Egyptians. In the 15th century, an Italian artisan figured out how to turn sand into transparent glass, (

Annick Labeca (@ULGlobalCities) tweeted at 6:19 AM – 3 Jan 2018 :

which made possible the microscopes, telescopes, and other technologies that helped drive the Renaissance’s scientific revolution (also, affordable windows). Sand of various kinds is an essential ingredient in detergents, (

Annick Labeca (@ULGlobalCities) tweeted at 6:20 AM – 3 Jan 2018 :

cosmetics, toothpaste, solar panels, silicon chips, and especially buildings; every concrete structure is basically tons of sand and gravel glued together with cement. (

Annick Labeca (@ULGlobalCities) tweeted at 6:21 AM – 3 Jan 2018 :

In Dubai enormous land-reclamation projects and breakneck skyscraper-building have exhausted all the nearby sources. Exporters in Australia are literally selling sand to Arabs. (