The world is facing a global sand crisis

September 7, 2017 9.22pm BST

theconversation_When people picture sand spread across idyllic beaches and endless deserts, they understandably think of it as an infinite resource. But as we discuss in a just-published perspective in the journal Science, over-exploitation of global supplies of sand is damaging the environment, endangering communities, causing shortages and promoting violent conflict.

Skyrocketing demand, combined with unfettered mining to meet it, is creating the perfect recipe for shortages. Plentiful evidence strongly suggests that sand is becoming increasingly scarce in many regions. For example, in Vietnam domestic demand for sand exceeds the country’s total reserves. If this mismatch continues, the country may run out of construction sand by 2020, according to recent statements from the country’s Ministry of Construction. Continue reading “The world is facing a global sand crisis”


Khanh Hoa’s Can River damaged by sand mines

Last update 09:20 | 03/06/2017

A number of companies dredging sand along the Cạn River in the central province of Khanh Hoa’s Cam Ranh City since 2015 have caused landslides and put the lives of local residents in danger.

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Illegal sand mining on rivers increases risk of landslides to riverside residental areas. 

A reporter from the  Labour newspaper witnessed trucks working at the lower reaches of the Can River, near Hiep Thanh Village, Cam Thinh Dong Commune. Continue reading “Khanh Hoa’s Can River damaged by sand mines”

Company mines sand for sale without permit in central Vietnam

Tuoi Tre News

Updated : 05/28/2017 14:33 GMT + 7

A company has been exploiting a large amount of sand without a legitimate permit, against the backdrop of the increasingly concerning threat of sand mining across Vietnam.

Residents of Huong An Commune, Que Son District, Quang Nam Province have been complaining about hundreds of cubic meters of sand being mined on a daily basis and sold to other regions in Vietnam.

The mining is carried out by Trung Dung Mineral Exploiting Company without any formal permission from local authorities. Continue reading “Company mines sand for sale without permit in central Vietnam”

Mekong Delta faces increased risk of landslides as sediment loss continues

Last update 07:40 | 17/05/2017

VietNamNet Bridge – Every year, 55 million tons of sediment is lost from the rivers in Mekong Delta, 90 percent of which is sand. 

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Nguyen Huu Thien, an independent expert, said the Mekong Delta has been taking shape for the last 6,000 years thanks to alluvial accretion. But the volume of sediment in the river and canal system has decreased gradually, leading to an increased risk of landslides.

The coastal provinces in the western part of the southern region are also directly affected by the change.

The alluvium from river mouths to the sea has the function of protecting the coast, easing the impact from waves hitting the coast. When there is not enough silt, the sea water will cause erosion. Continue reading “Mekong Delta faces increased risk of landslides as sediment loss continues”

Sands of time: VN faces severe shortage

Last update 16:13 | 05/05/2017

VietNamNet Bridge – Poor planning and management of sand mining has led to a stunning but unsurprising warning: Viet Nam is very likely to run out of sand in less than 15 years.

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Serious bank erosion on the Krong Pak River in Dak Lak Province near the site of the Doan Ket sand mining Co. – Photo: VNA/VNS 

A report by the Department of Construction Materials (DoCM) of the Ministry of Construction says the demand for sand in 2015 stood at 92 million cubic metres, and will surge by some 40 per cent to about 130 million in 2020.

The driving force behind the increase is the construction frenzy across Viet Nam, a developing nation pouring more and more cash into infrastructure investment, especially in cities. Continue reading “Sands of time: VN faces severe shortage”

Sand meant to protect beaches ‘stolen’ in central Vietnam


Updated : 03/24/2017 13:55 GMT + 7

A huge amount of sand dredged in two river projects originally meant for protecting an eroding beach in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Nam has been directed away from its expected location.

In early 2017, the Quang Nam administration approved two dredging projects on Cua Dai River in the province’s Hoi An City, with the exploited sand meant to be used as an aid against erosion at the nearby Cua Dai beach.

However, ships transporting sand dredged from the projects have been spotted heading to locations other than Cua Dai beach. Continue reading “Sand meant to protect beaches ‘stolen’ in central Vietnam”

Four sand mining projects suspended in Đồng Nai

vietnam news

Update: March, 24/2017 – 19:00

Sand mining on the Thị Vải River in the southern province of Đồng Nai. — Photo
Viet Nam News ĐỒNG NAI — The southern Đồng Nai Province’s transport department on Thursday ordered four sand mining and dredging projects in the region to suspend operations.

The four projects are: dredging on the inland waterway of Thái Thiện stream from Thị Vải River to Kim Nhật inland wharf (Phước Thái Commune, Long Thành District); dredging on Ông Trung channel (Phước Tân and Tam Phước communes, Biên Hoà City); dredging and clearing of Buông River and Bến Gỗ River (Phước Tân and Tam Phước communes, Biên Hoà City); and dredging and operating inland waterway on Đồng Kho River (Phước An Commune, Nhơn Trạch District). Continue reading “Four sand mining projects suspended in Đồng Nai”

Chairman of northern Vietnam province intimidated for putting brakes on sand exploitation

Tuoi Tre News

Updated : 03/16/2017 16:45 GMT + 7

The chairman of the People’s Committee in the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh has been the victim of threats since launching a campaign to end harmful sand exploitation in a local river.

Nguyen Tu Quynh, chairman of the provincial administration, has sent a letter notifying the prime minister that he and other officers had been threatened for ending a sand dredging project in the Cau River, an 83 kilometer long waterway snaking through Bac Ninh and Bac Giang Provinces.

Speaking with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday, Chairman Quynh stated he had asked the Ministry of Public Security to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the investors behind the detrimental project. Continue reading “Chairman of northern Vietnam province intimidated for putting brakes on sand exploitation”

Sand mining: the global environmental crisis you’ve probably never heard of

From Cambodia to California, industrial-scale sand mining is causing wildlife to die, local trade to wither and bridges to collapse. And booming urbanisation means the demand for this increasingly valuable resource is unlikely to let up

A boat is stranded on the Poyang Lake in east China.
A boat is stranded on the Poyang Lake in east China, site of one of the world’s biggest sand mines. Photograph: Xinhua/Barcroft Images

Times are good for Fey Wei Dong. A genial, middle-aged businessman based near Shanghai, China, Fey says he is raking in the equivalent of £180,000 a year from trading in the humblest of commodities: sand.

Fey often works in a fishing village on Poyang Lake, China’s biggest freshwater lake and a haven for millions of migratory birds and several endangered species. The village is little more than a tiny collection of ramshackle houses and battered wooden docks. It is dwarfed by a flotilla anchored just offshore, of colossal dredges and barges, hulking metal flatboats with cranes jutting from their decks. Fey comes here regularly to buy boatloads of raw sand dredged from Poyang’s bottom. He ships it 300 miles down the Yangtze River and resells it to builders in booming Shanghai who need it to make concrete.

The demand is voracious. The global urbanisation boom is devouring colossal amounts of sand – the key ingredient of concrete and asphalt. Shanghai, China’s financial centre, has exploded in the last 20 years. The city has added 7 million new residents since 2000, raising its population to more than 23 million. In the last decade, Shanghai has built more high-rises than there are in all of New York City, as well as countless miles of roads and other infrastructure. “My sand helped build Shanghai Pudong airport,” Fey brags. Continue reading “Sand mining: the global environmental crisis you’ve probably never heard of”