The province is ending commercial sand mining on Prince Edward Island beaches.

Environment Minister Richard Brown said Thursday that a study commissioned by his government shows a direct link between sand mining and coastal erosion. Sand mining involves front-end loaders that wait for low tide before heading out onto beaches to dig out sand for commercial use.

The sand is used to make concrete. Brown knows his decision to stop issuing sand-mining permits will hurt some Island businesses.

"It's definitely going to be a loss, but it's a balance between protecting the environment and the economy," he said. "And the government went down on the [side of] environment on this issue."

Brown said the holes created in the beach during sand mining are filled in with sand from the coastline, which causes the erosion.

Sand mining permits will still be issued for when harbours need to be dredged to allow boats to get out, a regular practice at many North Shore harbours.