Odds and Ends
Sand in bad places
7 9, 6:35pm
Good sand for glassmaking and concrete production is difficult to come upon naturally and often costly to be refined from worse sand (it has to be mostly silica, but a lot of sand out there has iron, magnesium and things like that mixed in; concrete in particular allows for some impurities, mainly aluminium, but the amount of them cannot be over a certain treshhold).
As an aside, less violent (afaik) sand mafies have been operating from a long time for other motives, like selling sand to fill public beaches or for terrain modification. Not far from where I live, people had to fight (as in block roads and toppling trucks) those less vicious mafias that were stealing sand from rivers to fill beaches.
Anything that extracted without the proper licenses, security measures, fear of the law and enviromental care is relatively cheap and produces quantities large enough that can be sold for a nice profit, according to their standards, is liable to have these kind of things happen, like wireline copper stealers.