Natural resources

Mineral resources: sand and gravel

Mineral resources sand and gravel: the main ingredient in building materials
Mineral resources sand and gravel are the key ingredients for building raw materials. Raw materials are for the largest part produced with surface mineral resources which are sand and gravel. Sand and gravel are mineral resources which are generally part of ‘wet mining’ from rivers and new nature reserves nearby rivers.

Sand and gravel are used when building houses, offices and new infrastructure such as roads and viaducts.

Boulders, cobbles, pebble, sand grain, silt
Sand and gravel are created high up in the mountains of Switzerland and Austria when boulders fall into the river. Due to erosion and corrosion the boulders become smaller and the corners rounder. Also, due to differentiating stream speeds, sand and gravel starts to settle next to the river in periods of thousands of years. Since a grain of gravel is heavier than a grain of sand, sand will sink to the bottom quicker. The river starts to expand and the speed slows down when it gets to the estuary in The Netherlands. This explains why you will find larger boulders in the mountains and fine grains of sand and even silt or mud at the outlet of the sea.

Even now, sand and gravel from the upper part of the Rhine river and Maas river is supplied to The Netherlands.

Geologically connected with the rivers
The geology of The Netherlands makes for a perfect environment where sand and gravel is found in abundance near the rivers. Therefore, the mining of sand and gravel generally takes place near the larger rivers in the provinces Limburg (gravel), Noord-Brabant, Gelderland and Overijssel(gravel and sand).

Mining in balance with nature
Mineral extraction in The Netherlands is not a goal on its own anymore but goes in sync with nature and recreational development. Also, by expanding the river, larger mineral resources are released and processed as a raw material.