Desertification & Sand Mining

What is it?

Sand mining can be defined as the extraction of sand, mainly through an open pit but sometimes mined from beaches and inland dunes or dredged from ocean and river beds.

The sand derived from the mining is used for construction purposes, such as the manufacturing of concrete blocks and the plastering process.

While sand mining may be beneficial to the construction industry it is considered the inverse for the environment. In some instances when sand mining takes place, significant quantities of top soil are removed from an area in order to get access to the sand. This action severely compromises the soil profile and its integrity, causing large scale soil erosion.

What we do?

The Department of Environment is responsible for the selection of suitable sites for the purpose of mining sand.  The selection of these sites are determined by a variety of factors, such as: location, accessibility, type of material, topography and proximity of the sites to nearby communities or residential areas.

The Department also engages in periodic monitoring of the selected mining sites to ensure that the mining process is being executed properly utilizing the best practices in an effort to reduce the environmental impacts.

Currently in St. Kitts there are two official mining sites that the Department of Environment in collaboration with Public Works Department manage. Belltate Bay which is mined Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8am-4pm and Lower Mansions which is mined Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8am-4pm. The bay sand which is mined from Belltate Bay is used in the manufacturing of concrete blocks, while Fill material which is mined from Lower Mansions is primarily used for plastering.

If you are a concerned citizen of St. Kitts and witness mining at any other locations other than the official locations mentioned, it is an illegal offence and should be reported to the Department of Environment at 869-466-8535.