Abstract Understanding the impact of marine sand mining operations in a complex coastal environment requires a combined observational and modeling approach. Here, we use field measurements collected during mining operations in Kyunggi Bay, Korea to develop sediment parameters and source conditions for a three-dimensional (3D) sediment transport model built on the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS). The model is run with realistic forcing obtained from a 9 km meteorological model, tides, and river discharges. The resulting vertical and horizontal distributions of sediment show encouraging agreement with the field data, demonstrating markedly different dispersal patterns due largely to the differential settling of the various sand classes. The resulting depositional patterns suggest that only the coarser size classes (500 and 250 μm) particles remain close to the mined site, while finer size classes are widely dispersed. These results suggest that this new methodology of multi-size class, 3D sediment transport modeling is quite promising, and further work is ongoing to include more realistic representation of sediment resuspension processes.