Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Prices of sand for construction continue increasing in HCM City, following authorities’ orders to strictly monitor sand mining sites for illegal activity.
Within one month, sand prices rose three times as there is now a glut of sand on the market, local media have reported.
According to Thiên Long building materials shop on Lê Văn Lương Street in District 7, sand is selling for VNĐ695,000 (US$30) per cubic metre, up from VNĐ510,000 on April 30, VNĐ320,000 on April 8, and VNĐ220,000 on March 31.
The shop’s owner said “There’s a serious shortage of sand. I used to have seven suppliers, but now I only have two suppliers. The sand comes from Long An and Tiền Giang provinces.”
According to wholesalers, prices have risen as the construction season has begun and monitoring of illegal sand mining has increased.
At another shop on Võ Văn Kiệt Street in District 6, customers must deposit at least 10 per cent of their order’s value. They cannot receive delivery until two days later.
“The sand can be harvested illegally upon request, but now it is being done at a limited volume,” the shop owner said.
Phạm Thị Kim Xuân, general director of Đệ Tam Joint Stock Company, said she was concerned that the construction sector could experience a slowdown if sand prices remained high.
Many low-cost housing projects are facing challenges due to the price hike, she added.
“The authorities should consider re-issuing licences for sand-mining companies, with careful consideration of annual output and environmental impact,” she said.
The volume of construction sand in HCM City meets only 30-40 per cent of demand, according to the city’s Department of Construction.
Recently, the department submitted a draft on building materials planning in HCM City until 2020 to the city People’s Committee.
The department has proposed solutions to ensure a sufficient supply for construction materials, especially sand.
Currently, there is no basis for assessing the ratio of licensed to smuggled sand.
Although most contractors can show invoices, illegal sand mining activities still exist and have become more difficult to handle, according to the department.
Nguyễn Ngọc Thanh, head of the Construction Material Division under the Department of Construction, said that provinces were not permitted to sell or transfer natural resources like sand to other provinces.
Thanh recommended that the Government quick reorganise the main sources of sand supply.
Tiền Giang, Vĩnh Long, Đồng Nai and Bến Tre provinces and Cần Thơ have abundant sand mines, according to Thanh.
Large sand mines in these provinces would help balance the supply of sand for other localities.
Dr. Trần Quang Liên, an expert in building materials, said there was still no natural sand substitute for use in construction.
The price would be higher for the sand substitute.
“The Government should examine the volume of sand reserves in the Mekong Delta and other river basins, and provide information on sand harvesting that can be done without affecting locals’ livelihoods and the environment,” he said.
Lê Hoàng Châu, chairman of the HCM City Real Estate Association, said there was a huge demand for sand for construction in HCM City, including projects in District 2, outlying Cần Giờ District and low-income housing projects in outlying Củ Chi District and District 9.
Increased sand prices will also lead to higher construction costs, he said. — VNS