The Sydney Sand Market

Quote from Pienmunne & Whitehouse

There is little information available to the wider community about the construction industry resource requirements.  Most people are unaware of the large volumes of sand consumed annually by the construction industry and of the need to plan long term to secure sand resources for a major city such as Sydney.  Sydney currently consumes about 6.5 - 7.0 million tonnes of construction sand annually, some 50% of which is fine sand (ie 3.3-3.5Mtpa). In the next 20 yrs +/- 66 million tonne of fine sand will be required to meet the needs of the construction industry.

The principal uses of fine sand are concrete manufacture, plastering, pipe and general filling.  The properties of the sand and the distance of the resource from the market influence the markets for fine sand.

In Sydney, construction sands traditionally come from a variety of beach, river and sandstone deposits up to 180 km from the CBD.  As these resources are exhausted or quarantined for conservation or planning reasons, companies have had to look farther afield. As a consequence the industry is now reaching well beyond the physical footprint of the Sydney region, visiting the impacts of sand extraction on regional centres and rural communities.  Currently, the Sydney sand market reaches as far north as Stockton (north of Newcastle), south to the Southern Highlands and Shellharbour and west to the Blue Mountains to find supplies of construction material.

Marine aggregate is a viable replacement or complementary source of fine sand for Sydney and regional markets.  The Company intends to assess long-term supply options for the Sydney sand market in the context of sensible and risk-based resource management for the region.

For more detail on the supply and demand for construction sand, current resources and projected demand, please see the reports below.

Pienmunne, J.T. & Whitehouse, J.; 2001: Supply and Demand for Construction Sand in the Sydney Planning Region. NSW Geological Survey. Geological Survey Report GS2001/086.

Ray H. and MacRae G. 2006:  Supply and Transport of Construction Materials for the Sydney Region to 2031.  For the Department of Planning NSW.

Whitehouse J. 2007: Evaluation of mineral resources of the continental shelf, New South Wales.  Primary Industries NSW, Quarterly Notes Issue 124.-

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