Vietnam’s Mekong Delta province faces serious sand dearth

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Vietnam’s Mekong Delta province faces serious sand dearth

This image shows a sand-carrying barge on the Tien River in Thanh Binh District, Dong Thap Province, Vietnam. Photo: Buu Dau / Tuoi Tre

Authorities in Dong Thap, a province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, have warned of a serious shortage of sand for leveling and construction this year due to declining supply, which has in turn pushed prices up.

The provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment last year granted 15 licenses for river sand mining with a total capacity of over 4.2 million cubic meters, Huynh Van Nguyen, deputy director of the department, said on Tuesday.

This year the province needs around 16 million cubic meters of sand, mainly for leveling purposes, for local construction works, while the total supply may top six million cubic meters only, Nguyen stated.

“That means the province is facing a severe dearth of sand this year,” the official warned.

Meanwhile, the demand for sand in the 2022-25 period amounts to over 37 million cubic meters, for both leveling and construction, according to the provincial Department of Construction.

Currently, many provinces in the Mekong Delta region, including Long An and Tien Giang, have stopped or reduced sand mining, so the supply of leveling sand is mainly reliant on Dong Thap itself and a few others like An Giang and Vinh Long, Nguyen said.

“We therefore suggest that the prime minister assign relevant ministries to soon research and find other sources of materials that can gradually replace sand,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the An Giang Province Department of Natural Resources and Environment reported that seven local enterprises have been licensed to mine sand in eight locations with a total reserve of around 5.3 million cubic meters, which basically meets local demands only.

It is hard for any sand to be left for sale outside the province, a representative of the department said.

Regarding sand prices, the An Giang Province Department of Construction warned that unit prices of sand reported by local construction material enterprises are much higher than those specified in the department’s price notice, those announced by the provincial finance department, and those approved for construction projects.

In response to increased sand prices due to scarce supply, the construction department requested that agencies concerned inspect the registration and declaration of sand prices by relevant businesses.

Over the past years, many localities in the region have faced massive illegal sand mining along the Mekong River, which has resulted in serious land erosion and caused a threat to people living along the riverbanks.

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