Crackdown on Illegal Sand Mining Reduces Supply of Construction Materials
An investigation into the illegal mining of sand in the Mekong Delta region has led to a scarcity of supply, resulting in higher prices and disruptions to major construction projects. Currently, sand sold at mining sites costs VND120,000-130,000 (US$5-5.38) per cubic meter, with prices rising to VND320,000-330,000 per cubic meter at construction sites due to transportation costs. This means that the price of construction sand has increased by VND60,000-70,000 per cubic meter compared to two weeks ago.
The shortage of sand has impacted construction companies, with some having to suspend operations due to the lack of supply. In Vinh Long Province, a construction company had to halt its barge operations due to the sand shortage. The company used to pay VND200,000 per cubic meter for sand used in foundations, but now the price has risen to as much as VND270,000 per cubic meter.
The supply of sand in the region has been limited for the past two weeks since the Ministry of Public Security uncovered illegal sand mining activities in An Giang Province. The investigation revealed that Trung Hau 68 Company, licensed to mine 1.5 million cubic meters of sand for the North-South Expressway project, was involved in illegal activities.
To address the issue of overexploitation and riverbank erosion, localities in the Mekong Delta are exploring sustainable alternatives to river sand. The Ministry of Transport has been considering a plan to gradually replace river sand with sea sand in construction projects. Three coastal locations, including Soc Trang Province and Tra Vinh Province, have been identified as potential sources of sea sand for construction purposes. A pilot project in Tra Vinh using sea sand for expressway construction has met all requirements and proved successful.