Crushing rocks into sand: rising costs push China to manufacture artificial components for cement

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Sand and gravel, often collected from riverbeds, are essential raw materials for the global construction sector as aggregate for making cement and concrete. Because of increasing demand, however, sources are being tapped at a rate far greater than they are renewed naturally. The imbalance has created a looming shortage of natural sand and a global crisis, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). As prices of the natural materials surge, the world’s biggest cement producer – China, has largely turned to artificial sources, including crushing hard granite stones into tiny pieces.


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