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The sand war - A story of sand and beaches

Thai Spice

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On 9/17/2020 at 9:14 AM, Thai Spice said:

A very good docu about one of the biggest commodity used in this world, but not often talked about.




Merci monsieur ........strangely a subject that has always fascinated me............ bit like gravel ........ any documentaries on gravel mon ami ???

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On 9/19/2020 at 9:39 AM, nampla69 said:

Merci monsieur ........strangely a subject that has always fascinated me............ bit like gravel ........ any documentaries on gravel mon ami ???

One of the companies in the conglomerate I used to work for many years ago, had the largest sand and gravel dredging fleet in the UK. They also had several large dredgers around the world dredging for sand and aggregates to make concrete.

At the time, they produced well in excess of 1.5 million m3 of ready mix concrete a year, plus another 1 million m3 for all the other concrete that they made for other products like pipes, bricks, roof tiles etc in their factories  spread over several continents like the US, UK, Europe, Australia, Malaysia and even Thailand.

People think that sand used in concrete is found in abundance around the world, but that is far from the case, as not just any type of sand can be used to produce concrete because it has to be of a specific grading. For instance, sand used for cement mortar is no good for making concrete (it the wrong grading) and vice versa. The same applies for stone used in concrete. To make really strong concrete, ideally, the aggregate needs to be cuboid in shape, so that means you have to crush stone to shape it and that can be an expensive exercise, as most stone types breaks in different ways, depending on the stone type and the type of crushing techniques used, but there is a bonus, as crushing hard stone, produces a certain amount of “sand” (<5mm) ideal for making concrete, but that only applies to the harder stone types. 
That’s why most responsible aggregate producing companies are now getting into recycling concrete products by crushing old concrete and adding it to new concrete  products they produce. 

I saw a program on sand dredging in rivers in India and it was a real eye opener. Hundreds of men, women and children literally diving down to pickup sand by hand to put into the boat, all for a few pence a day. All of the sand and in some cases stones, all going to make concrete for buildings in the expanding cities. 

China must be producing millions of m3 of concrete a year and the sand has to come from somewhere. 

In the UK, all county councils have to have a plan in place that will allow aggregate supply companies a rolling 10 year supply of extractable sand and stone aggregates. Bearing in mind that moving aggregates more than 30 miles to supply concrete plants isn’t financially viable. 
On the up side, if you’ve dug a huge hole in the ground to extract on average 50 millions tons of sand and gravel, you then have a huge hole that can be used for landfill for household waste at around £70 a ton. So, double bubble.  🤗


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