It is one of the most important construction materials in use today but a scarcity of sand is a real problem, not just for the construction industry but for society as a whole.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed, either. In 2019, the United Nations published a report saying that sand was the second-largest resource extracted and traded by volume, behind only water. One of the key composites used in the creation of concrete as well as being used in flooring compounds, stucco and more, sand is an essential construction material – and one for which demand is increasing worldwide.
As a result, unsustainable extraction and even illegal ‘sand piracy’ have become issues in some countries. This year, the New Scientist magazine reported that researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands fear demand for sand could rise by 45% in the coming decades, jumping from 3.2 billion metric tonnes a year in 2020 to 4.6 billion tonnes by 2060, led by increased development in Africa and Asia.
Even the mainstream media is now paying attention, with the BBC reporting in 2021 that recycled materials had a key role to play in solving the sand shortage.
Industrial sand in Britain
The good news is that, according to the UK’s Mineral Products Association (MPA), Britain is not running out of sand – at least not at a national level, though there are issues at a regional level.
“Minerals can only be worked where they are found, which can create a geographic imbalance between where resources are geologically available, and where they are used. This means that some parts of the country are net producers, while others are net consumers. Access to geological resources is and will be subject to a number of constraints – a complex mix of social, environmental and economic factors that have to be managed to ensure sustainable supply of resources. The UK is broadly self-sufficient in aggregates, with imports and exports each accounting for less than 5% of UK demand,” .the MPA said.
What is an issue in Britain, it said, was “the time, effort and costs required to secure the resources that society needs have increased, and are likely to continue to do so in the future”.
There is a solution, however: recycling.
Solving the sand problem
Naturally occurring sand may not be particularly abundant in the UK, but construction and demolition (C&D) waste provides a real alternative – and as C&D waste volumes are high it has the potential to unlock real value.
Indeed, in its 2019 briefing, the MPA said that nearly 30% of UK aggregates supply was already sourced from the recycling of demolition wastes and materials arising from other industrial activities.
Industrial sand is one of the most diverse and specialised sectors in the rapidly evolving world of materials processing. Tyrone International’s equipment is designed to accommodate industrial sand applications in various sectors; filter sand, glass sand and foundry sands to name a few.
While the range of applications is diverse, our specialist sand washing and classifying plants will ensure the final product specifications you require are met with a consistent and highly accurate size separation, with reduced clay fractions, reduced metallic and organic contamination and high productivity rates.
Tyrone International is committed to understanding market needs and offering the equipment and solutions today which will solve tomorrows’ problems. Our equipment is designed to accommodate industrial sand applications in various sectors filter sand, glass sand and foundry sands to just name a few.