Canadian sand has arrived on Oahu, as sand mined on Maui is being phased out of Oahu construction materials.
After we started asking questions, one of Hawaii’s biggest cement companies — and the only one still taking sand off the Valley Isle — told us it was stopping the inter-island shipments and shifting to a new source instead.
Formerly known as Ameron, HC&D makes most of the cement for big projects like Honolulu’s rail project starting from its yard at Oahu’s Sand Island, where two islands of sand sit piled noticeably different: golden dune sand from Central Maui, and now new gray sand from British Columbia.
It has just arrived and will now be the source of the key cement ingredient. The Maui sand once used up will likely be the last for Oahu with HC&D saying it has no plans for further shipments from Maui to Oahu.
Last month, Always Investigating revealed how a developer of Central Maui’s Maui Lani, the excavator that carves out its sand dunes, the concrete company, even the barge that for years has taken the sand off the Valley Isle, all have a common ownership partner.
Maui’s mayor called for a moratorium on sand shipments, which the county council is now saying may be more stringent regulation instead to control or limit exports, but HC&D is already voluntarily moving in a different direction.
“I think it’s laudable they’ve explored other resources rather than just the Maui inland sand dune,” said Rob Parsons, Maui County environmental coordinator. “So many Hawaiian burials are located in the inland sand dunes. There has been such a call for limiting exports of Maui sand for a number of reasons, for cultural reasons, for resource extraction reasons, questions over the permit.”
Maui County gave a notice of warning to HC&D and Maui Lani that their grading permits don’t allow resource extraction. Since getting those notices at the beginning of the month, mass grading has been paused at Maui Lani’s Phase 9.
HC&D told us Thursday that it is continuing to do some work for safety and erosion control purposes only.
Community members representing the cultural significance of the dunes want all grading stopped permanently, and have been holding rallies and a community meeting earlier in the week.
Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa told Always Investigating, “The County is not taking additional action regarding the grading permit, but we will leave that possibility open.”
No word back yet from HC&D if there will be any price differences for the Canadian sand or sand-based cement for Oahu customers. The same prices from before are still posted on its website.