|European marine aggregates resources: Origins, usage, prospecting and dredging techniques|
|Velegrakis, A. F.; Ballay, A.; Poulos, S.; Radzevicius, R.; Bellec, V.K.; Manso, F. (2010). European marine aggregates resources: Origins, usage, prospecting and dredging techniques. J. Coast. Res. SI 51: 1-14|
|In: Journal of Coastal Research. Coastal Education and Research Foundation: Fort Lauderdale. ISSN 0749-0208, more|
Dredging; Prospecting; Marine
Marine aggregates; dredging; offshore mineral resources; relict sediments; buried palaeovalleys; mineral resource prospecting
|Authors|| || Top |
Marine aggregates (sand and gravel) are important mineral resources and traded commodities. Their significance is bound to increase further, due to increasing coastal zone development, stricter environmental regulation concerning land-won aggregates and increasing demand for beach replenishment material. Marine aggregate (MA) deposits can be differentiated into relict and modern deposits. The former consist of sedimentary material deposited in the past and under different environmental and sedimentary regimes than those existing presently (e.g. the gravel/ sand deposits of the Pleistocene buried river valleys of the northwestern European shelves). The latter are deposits, which have been formed and controlled by the modern hydro-and sediment dynamic conditions (e.g. the linear sand banks of the southern North Sea). The present contribution reviews the current state of affairs in 9 representative European Member States concerning the prospecting and extraction (dredging) techniques as well as the levels of production and usage. The review has shown a mixed record as, in some of the studied States, marine aggregate production is an important and streamlined activity, whereas other States have not yet developed efficient marine aggregate policies and industries. It has also shown that although attempts have been lately made to coordinate the field, the industry still faces problems, which hinder its sustainable development. These include (amongst others): lack of standardisation of the relevant information, difficulties in the access to information, non-coherent regulatory regimes and limited collaboration/coordination between the marine scientific research establishments and the marine aggregate industry. These issues should be addressed as quickly as possible in order to exploit effectively this important mineral resource.