Shortage of sand may affect global construction industry – A.T Kearney
A new report says the shortage of sand may likely affect the pace of activities in the global construction industry this year.
The report noted that urbanisation and infrastructure development were resulting in a global shortage of sand, the second most extracted natural resource after water.
It also stated that increasing sand prices due to scarcity would continue to cause construction strains in many African countries.
According to the report by the A.T. Kearney Global Business Policy Council’s Year-Ahead Predictions 2019 report, two-thirds of construction material is concrete, which itself is composed of two-thirds sand.
It added that “The global construction boom is therefore having a significant impact on global sand prices. To get a sense of scale, China used more sand between 2011 and 2013 than the United States did during the entire 20th century. In India, the construction boom is fueling not only a price spike—with reports of price increases between 100 and 150 per cent in the past two years—but also a sand mafia that has become notorious for violence.
“There are similar criminal groups operating in Indonesia and elsewhere in Asia. US prices for cement and concrete rose nearly 70 per cent between 2004 and mid-2018, driven in part by sand-intensive hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the oil and gas sector. Even desert-based construction hotspots such as Dubai must import construction-grade sand, often taken from beaches, riverbeds, and lakebeds across the world.
“This rising sand demand is having devastating environmental effects, including rapidly intensifying the erosion and degradation of water-based ecosystems around the world.”
The report said in 2019, rising sand prices would put financial strain on the construction industry, particularly in emerging and frontier markets, adding that this trend could lead to the slowing or cancellation of some projects.
It noted that countries such as Vietnam would be particularly sensitive, given that sand prices there rose to about 200 per cent in 2017 alone as the government seeks to eliminate illegal sand dredging.
The report said, “Singapore, the world’s largest sand importer, will face greater scrutiny and delay of development projects as global attention to the issue rises. The country is already subject to sand export bans from Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia for alleged long-term participation in sand smuggling.
“In rapidly urbanising sub-Saharan Africa, increasing sand prices will continue to cause construction strains in countries such as Uganda, which has exhausted local supplies and is now turning to imports.”
Source: Punch Newspaper
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