MAC: Mines and Communities

Indonesia Bans Sand Exports to Singapore

Published by MAC on 2007-01-25

Indonesia Bans Sand Exports to Singapore

by Reuters

25th January 2007

SINGAPORE - Indonesia has banned all further sand exports, citing environmental concerns and the need to protect its borders, the Singapore government said in a statement on Wednesday.

Land-scarce Singapore, with a total area of just 700 square km, is one of the biggest importers of Indonesian sand, once used for land reclamation and now in strong demand in a construction industry currently recovering after years in the doldrums.

Indonesia's sand trade with Singapore, worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year, has been criticised by environmentalists who said sand mining had led to erosion and even the disappearance of some Indonesian islands.

This, in turn, has raised concerns that sand mining could alter Indonesia's sea borders.

"Singapore is disappointed with Indonesia's decision," the Ministry of National Development said in a statement.

The government building agency did not expect the ban to have a significant impact on the city-state's construction sector as it could find other suppliers of the material, the ministry said.

The ban took effect on Tuesday, but exporters have been given until Feb. 5 to honour existing contracts, it added.

The latest ban applies to the export of land sand, which is used to produce concrete for buidling construction, a ministry spokeswoman said.

Jakarta banned the export of sea sand -- used for land reclamation works -- to Singapore in 2003, dealing a blow to the city-state's reclamation plans.


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