The Other Gold Rush: Impacts and Governance of Coastal Sand Mining

Co-hosted by the Environmental Law Institute and the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (Marine Resources Committee).

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
1:00 pm–2:30 pm ET

What connects beaches, roads, and skyscrapers? All three–along with many electronics–rely on sand mining. Globally, 40 billion tons of sand are consumed per year, far more than any other mineral. Sand mines are proliferating in rivers and along coasts all around the world for everything from land reclamation on the U.S. east coast to concrete construction projects in Dubai. With increased need for sand comes increased environmental risks from the mining process. Simultaneously, there is a growing need for sand mining governance that adequately balances the realities of industrial societies alongside potentially catastrophic ecological impacts from mining activities.

The webinar convened experts on sand mining to discuss what it is, where it is being carried out, and how it is being governed. The goal was to spark discussion about the best way to move forward with this other type of Gold Rush.


    • John Gillis, Author and Historian

    • Jeffrey Reidenauer, Chief of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Marine Minerals Program

    • Jennifer Culbertson, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

    • Douglas Piatkowski, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

    • Steve Jones, Alabama Geological Survey

    • Vince Beiser, Award-winning Journalist