1.1 Background to the Study
Soil is an important resource covering the land surface. Mining is the process of getting minerals and soil components for various uses. Man depends on soil for agriculture, construction and even as a habitat for various organisms (Mwangi, 2007). People benefit from soil particularly sand and gravel but interfere and disturb the resource through excessive exploitation to fulfill their needs. There is worldwide concern about the environment which prompted the researcher to carry out this study on the environment. It seems there is excessive mining of soil components for construction in both rural and urban development. Gravel is mixed with river sand in filling and compacting foundations, river sand is a component of concrete in making slab while pit sand is required for plastering buildings. River sand is used in most mixtures because it is a strong resource which strengthens even pit sand in plastering and makes durable bricks (Morwaeng, 2013).
Sand is a valuable resource and main input in the construction industry in many parts of the world (Eiskine and Green, 2000, Gob, et al, 2005). Mining excavation involves the removal of sand from their natural configuration. Sand mining occurs both on small and large-scale in major parts of Nigeria. It has been observed that with an estimated 16 million housing deficit (Ezekiel 2010; lsah, 2011) and infrastructural development in Nigeria, there will continue to be the great demand for sand and other construction materials (Omolu and Ajakaiye, 1988). Sand mining is a practice that is used to extract sand, mainly through an open pit. Sand is also mined from beaches, inland dunes and dredged from ocean beds and river beds.
Sand is often used in manufacturing as an abrasive, for example, and it is used to make concrete. It is also used in cold regions to put on the roads by municipal trucks to help during heavy rainfall and extreme weather conditions, usually mixed with salt or another mixture to lower the freezing temperature of the road surface (have the precipitations freeze at a lower temperature). Sand dredged from the mouths of rivers can also be used to replace eroded coastline (Kadi, et al., 2012).