Urban Sand Markets in India

Urban development has been the key indicator of the growth of the Indian economy, and construction – both infrastructure and real estate – play a key role as gauge and display of growth. Sand, the backbone of the construction industry, has become a problematic resource to procure in India. Availability and inferior quality have both contributed to the price volatility in this mineral resource – classified as a minor mineral under the National Mineral Policy instituted in 1993. With the problems associated with sand, namely illegal mining by sand mafia, heavy price volatility, inferior quality and non-grade material, high demand to spurt growth, sand is nothing less than a critical mineral of very high value. Whether a river sand mining ban by NGT or a state government regulation to optimally dredge the rivers, the problem with sand supply cannot be resolved by only institutional regulation. The industry needs an answer to the underlying supply side problems.

CDE Manufactured Sand
Examples of successful Manufactured sand for urban markets

The most trusted alternative to sand is Manufactured sand (also known as m-sand). This technology helps alleviate the risks associated with natural sand procurement. By de-risking the construction sector from heavy price volatility, dependence on illegal sand supply, uninterrupted supply, and consistent quality – manufactured sand achieves what no institution related to the natural and river sand regulations has been able to deliver.

Although, manufactured sand as a concept also has many manifestations in the current Indian market. Unwashed quarry dust, crusher dust (both 2& 3 stage) is being passed by that name. To take care of the excessive ultrafines fines/silt in the so-called Sand, cleaning system has been introduced. Many such introductions like bucket classifiers and screw classifiers have however failed to deliver on the promise. These old age technologies can neither produce correct sized product nor are the products free from deleterious slimes & silt to the required extent. Another major drawback of these plants is their inability to handle varying feed types. The only real technology to produce manufactured sand is a highly challenging technical process known as Sand washing. CDE is the pioneer of this concept and a global leader operating in 30 countries with its cutting-edge sand washing technology. This technology uses quarry dust, crusher dust or river-bed material as the raw/feed material to produce the highest quality ready-to-use graded sand meeting Zone II quality specification under IS 383 for the construction industry. In CDE technology along with Zone II grade concrete sand some amount of Zone IV sand for plaster can also be produced. The production levels would depend upon feed material characteristics. Recently, CDE has also developed a technology for using the reject slimes for making bricks.

CDE Combo X70 Sand Washing Plant
CDE Mobile Washing Plant for production of high grade manufactured sand

CDE sand washing system takes the feed material into the washing unit and uses its unique hydrocyclone technology to effectively remove excess ultrafines, i.e., minus 75 microns fraction particles, from the feed material. The material is then forwarded on to the dewatering unit, which delivers washed, dewatered, and well-graded sand product - 'concrete sand'. This is RMC-ready impurity-free vastu-friendly sand that is being readily used for manufacturing low cost higher durability concrete.

CDE Sand Washing System
CDE plants are highly flexible and can handle various types of feed material having wide range of silt level. The plants have provision for multilevel of hydrocyclone stages so that feed having high levels of silt like quarry dust or crusher dust can be processed. The low footprint along with provisions for connecting other equipment like attrition scrubbers make them amenable for dealing with highly clay bound material also. The compact nature of the plant makes material flow distances smaller and thus has very low power requirement, about 1kWh/t of feed in most cases. A very important feature of the plants is the water recovery and recirculation system, which could be attached separately or mounted on the same chassis depending on the capacity of the plant. 90-95% of the water is recirculated. CDE has now introduced a new technology called EasySettle, which helps in recovering a major part of the balance 5-10% water going out with the slimes/silt and only about 2-3% of the water would be lost due to spray losses & evaporation and needs to be made up.

CDE plants are thus eco-friendly in every sense of the term. It uses minimum water & power, and are truly zero discharge systems if the slimes are suitable for brick making. The sound level of the plants is well below 80 decibel and is controlled through PLC based arrangement requiring minimum human intervention. Being a wet washing system pollution of atmosphere from dust is minimum.

Most high growth urban centers in India – Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, etc. – face recurring supply side shocks pertaining to sand. This problem has persisted and shall continue to persist given the nature and pace of growth in India. A tested and successful solution for the construction industry to smoothen the bumps in the mineral procurement and to foster high growth is to adapt to manufactured-sand produced by authentic means of sand washing. CDE has partnered with numerous corporations around the globe, and particularly in India, to customized washing solutions for sand. It is time to take the right step forward and find CDE as your preferred sand solution provider.

NBM&CW September 2015

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