Cemex to close California coast sand mine

The California Coastal Commission has reached a proposed settlement agreement with Cemex to shut its sand mine in Marina, Monterey Bay, California.

The mine is the last remaining coastal sand mine in the United States, and environmental campaigners say it is causing erosion of the bay Monterey.

The California Coastal Commission, which began investigating sand mining by Cemex USA in 2010, is expected to vote July 13 on a deal that would require the company to halt extraction at its Lapis Sand Plant, an 8-acre operation on a remote beach in the Monterey County town of Marina.

The agreement will allow the plant to extract smaller amounts of sand for three years, according to sources close to the negotiations, reports SFGate.com.

All equipment would then have to be removed from the beach. A Cemex plant inland would be allowed to process stockpiled sand for another three years before shutting, the sources said.

The deal would require Cemex to restore the land and protect sensitive species, according to details of the agreement released by the Coastal Commission. In the end, the land would be sold for less than market rate to a nonprofit or governmental entity that would open it up to the public, the commission said.

Cemex, in a statement, disputes the mine’s erosion impacts, but acknowledges the proposed settlement.  “Cemex always strives to be a good neighbor and address the concerns of people in the communities in which we live and operate,” the statement reads, adding that the company has been working to reach an agreement with the Coastal Commission for years, and more recently, the State Lands Commission and the city of Marina.

“To that end, Cemex has agreed to phase out the [Marina sand mine] operation over the coming years,” it said.

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