Since the 20th century, the extraction and consumption of mineral aggregates (i.e., sand and gravel) has grown at a higher rate and on a larger scale than any other resource group. Currently, mineral aggregates are the largest mineral resource consumed globally, and sand mining is the largest form of mineral extractivism—thus having significant social and ecological ramifications. The industry overall is also plagued by rampant illegality, a strong black market, and intense violence, which results in the generation of severe social and environmental injustices and ecological distribution conflicts. Despite these wide-ranging impacts, sand mining continues to be a highly under-researched area of study. This presentation will provide a brief and comprehensive overview of the drivers, extraction frontiers, and impacts of around sand mining across the world.
Arpita Bisht is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague. She was recently an Associate Researcher at the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. She received her PhD from TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi, India, and then pursued a Marie Sklodowska Curie LeADing Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the ISS, The Hague. Her research focuses on ecological distribution conflicts and social resistance movements against extractivism and environmental injustices. She also explores degrowth, post-growth and other alternative economics in the context of the global South with a focus for India. She specializes in sand extractivism, environmental injustices, and resistance movements against sand extractivism across the world.