Vietnam to run out of sand in five years
Artificial sand ground from rocks might be a valid alternative for the over-exploited natural product which is expected to run out in Vietnam within five years, scientists said.
In a meeting on new construction materials last week with HCM City Department of Transport, the Institute of Transport Science and Technology (ITST) warned that the domestic supply of natural sand was nearing an end. However, Vietnam still needs about 100 million cubic meters of sand a year just to make concrete.
Scientists from the institute proposed an alternative to industrial sand was to grind rock down to fine particles, thus keeping quality under control. This industrially made sand is already available in parts of the world to make asphalt concrete for roads and construction concrete.
The cost of the man-made sand is also an advantage. Ground rock can be 10-15 per cent cheaper than natural sand, scientists said.
Ngo Hai Duong, head of land transport infrastructure use and management in the HCM City transport department, said that the cheaper price prompted competition between the two types of sand.
Prices of natural sand have skyrocketed during the past six months after a massive crackdown on the illegal sand dredging industry. This created a shortfall in the supply of sand, leading to a 200 per cent rise in sand prices which show no signs of easing.
Several infrastructure projects struggled to find new supplies as many are on the verge of exceeding their planned investments.
They were desperate for an alternative to expensive natural sand.
Nguyen Thanh Nam, director of the Hanoi Highway project in HCM City, said that the work to upgrade and expand the highway was in trouble due to the price hike.
“We are looking for more detail information (on industrial sand). If the sand meets the standard, we will use it to pave the sidewalks of the Hanoi Highway,” Nam said.
In Vietnam, the technical use of ready-made sand for making asphalt concrete has been accepted by the Ministry of Transport.
Investors at the meeting asked the institute to announce the official price of the industrial sand and other criteria regarding the quality to be used as a legal basis to design and build transport projects.
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