Coast KZN


Sand Mining

Sand mining along rivers has long term consequences on the sand budget of beaches along the coast. Illegal sand mining should be reported to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.

Sand Mining : Large quantities of sand is removed from river beds, river banks, estuaries and beaches mainly through open pit methods, which require only basic equipment: a bulldozer to clear vegetation and build access roads, while an excavator or front-end loader is used to remove sand deposits and trucks transport the sand.

This process removes stabilising vegetation, causes erosion and reduces the sand budget on beaches along the coast. Large quantities of sand are removed, exceeding the regenerative capacity of many rivers and estuarine ecosystems. Sand mining upsets the natural functioning of coastal systems. The cost of these unsustainable activities is far-reaching, with large economic, social and ecological consequences.

Better enforcement is urgently required to discourage illegal sand mining and to end the extraction of all river and estuarine sand mining. At the same time, more sustainable sources of sand for the fast growing construction industry are needed.

You should report illegal sand mining to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE). The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) provides licences for all mining activities and is ultimately responsible for monitoring sand mining activity, as well as enforcing compliance. The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) deals with the impact on the river and water use licences. Both mining and water use licences are required for sand mining. The EDTEA Coastal Unit should also be informed.

Who to contact


Name Telephone Email

Department of
Mineral Resources and Energy

Regional Office:
N Khanyile

(Regional Manager)
031 335 9600 Nqobile.khanyile@
Sibongiseni Mthembu

(Director: Environmental Enforcement & Compliance)
 012 444 3709  sibongiseni.mthembu
Department of
Water &
Sanitation (DWS)
KwaZulu Natal:
Ashley Starkey

(Chief Director)
031 336 2700 /082 809 5892 starkeya@
Alfred Matsheke
(Coastal Unit Manager)
033 897 6682
/ 082 330 2114 
Omar Parak
(Coastal Programmes & Projects)
033 897 6680/ 082 330 2136 omar.parak@

Complaints regarding any mining issue, whether linked to a watercourse or not, must be submitted to the Complaints Management section in DMRE:

Additional Information

Guidelines regarding Sand Mining

Guidelines: Sand Mining

For more information on sand mining, see "Sand mining in Estuaries under Pressures and Threats

Pressures and Threats

Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS)


Department of Mineral Resources and Energy