Lost revenue, environmental damage and exploitation of vulnerable communities makes this a high-cost industry for Uganda.
Criminal entrepreneurs are tapping into Uganda’s vast reserves of sand, exploiting a sector which is largely unregulated by government. Posing as sand mining investors, they have formed local cartel networks with support from ‘influential people’ with government connections. They run and sell shipments of illegally mined sand using an established regional and global black market.
Sand is a valuable non-renewable commodity used mainly for mega-infrastructure projects in the rapidly expanding African and global construction market. The transboundary industry mines vast habitats including bodies of water such as rivers, lakes and coastal areas as well as by digging sand pits on land.
The high-value industry is estimated to account for 85% of all mineral exploration in the world. This translates to 50 billion metric tonnes of sand mined per year with a market value of US$99.5 billion in 2017. The value of the industry is projected to reach almost US$481 billion in 2100…Full Story