While silica sand is one of the most plentiful naturally occurring minerals on the Earth, high grade silica sand is relatively rare and experiencing a booming demand. This is because high purity sand requires very low impurities such as sulphides and iron will that cause imperfections.
Demand: High-tech applications such as fibre-optics, LCD panels, LED lights and solar panels require ultra-clear glass produced with high purity silica sand.
Supply: At present, there is a global shortage of silica sand, owing to a number of export bans and the increased demand for sourced sand which is both environmentally and socially responsible. Sands found in deserts are unsuitable for the purposes the market requires, as it is shaped by wind rather than water (causing the grain to be round rather than angular) resulting in a further lack of supply. Supply is becoming an issue to the point where illegal mining is widespread in some countries.