Digging Holes


The world is facing a sand shortage

Australian sand was exported to Dubai to build the tallest building in the world the Burj Khalifa, despite it being in a desert. Most of the world's accessible sand is the wrong type for building or adding to concrete as it has been wind blasted into smooth spheres. The best sand and gravel has to be dug up which means digging holes.

These holes are sometimes in places where you would not want them, like here on the edge of the You Yangs Regional Park between Melbourne and Geelong, Victoria. Some countries are also dredging the seabed for their stock of this now precious material. The world is running out of usable sand and gravel. When demand outstrips supply, the price rises dramatically and sometimes corrupt or unscrupulous practices like unplanned dredging causes pollution and local biodiversity damage. Thinning coastlines affect beaches and increases the damage from storms.

Megacities around the world use vast quantities of sand, not only in reclaiming land from the sea but to add into concrete and asphalt. China accounts for half of the world demand; Singapore has expanded its land area by over 20% since the 1960s, other similar stories around the world mean that mining is taking place faster than natural replenishment and we are running short.

The company which runs this sand mine on the edge of the You Yangs wanted to double the size of the mine on adjacent land.  A protest by a local conservation group, citing an increase in truck traffic and danger to the local flora and fauna was successful in stopping this plan from going ahead.

I look at this mine from a surveillance perspective as it is fenced all around with barbed wire and has high banks built up in a way to stop prying eyes from seeing in. I had to climb high above it to get a good view to see the difference it is making to the landscape.

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