Cemex faces another challenge over its California beach mine

The struggle against the Cemex beach sand mine at Monterey Bay, California, continues. Earlier this month the State Lands Commission demanded that Cemex immediately submit a lease application to the commission to continue operations at its sand mine in Marina, or else shut the mine down.

Cemex spokesman Walker Robinson says the company is currently reviewing the letter, and is not able to comment on it at this time, Monterey County Weekly reports.

He told the paper in an email that the mine “has been in consistent operation for more than 111 years. That the operation is a vested right and has all required entitlements to operate, has been repeatedly confirmed over the last 50 years by numerous government entities.”

A lease application that the State Lands Commission demands would be subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act, which would most certainly require an environmental impact report: a costly and lengthy process.

The Cemex mine is the last remaining coastal sand mine in the country, and opponents claim that it causes coastal erosion.

The fight to shut the mine down dates back to the mid-1980s, when the State Lands Commission shut down other sand mines in Sand City and Marina that used draglines. In shutting those mines down, SLC exercised its jurisdiction over public trust lands seaward of the mean high tide line.

But the operation at the Cemex mine—commonly known as the Lapis mine, which Cemex acquired in 2005—operates in a man-made dredge pond above the mean high tide line.

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