Tipper Association calls on gov’t, SMJ Sand Quarry to reduce cost of sand
By Sulayman Waan
The General Tipper Association of The Gambia has called on the Gambia Government and Sino Majilac Jalbak (SMJ) Sand Quarry Company that mines at Denton Bridge to scale down the high cost of sand.
According to officials of the association, who made the call on Sunday 14 May 2023, the sand mining company had increased the price of metric cubic meters of sand about four times within one year. The officials said initially the price of a metric cubic meter of sand was D240; it was later increased to D325, to D475 and to D600 within one year.
A cubic meter of sand weighs around 1.58-1.78 tons depending on its type. It is the volume of a cube that is 1 meter long, 1 meter wide and 1 meter tall. One meter in length is approximately equal to 3.28 feet, or slightly more than a yard.
However, the tipper truck association said they had engaged the government concerning the biting high cost of sand but no solution had been proffered yet. The truck drivers are currently not working with the mining company and have called for government intervention.
Speaking at a press conference at Paradise Estate, Ousman Manneh, tipper truck owner, decried the situation, saying that “SMJ Sand Quarry is selling sand at a very high cost”.
“The consumers often say the truck owners are selling sand at a high price but they do not know the high cost is caused by the mining company,” he said.
However, he called on the government and the mining company to reduce the price of sand to benefit the public.
Samba Sarr, a resident of Siffoe who heads the tipper association in Brikama Area, said: “If the high cost of sand is not addressed it would affect the entire country in the long run because everyone wants to build a house.”
He argued that if the government should close other mining sites, claiming that there are environmental degradations along coastal communities then it should put measures in place for SMJ Sand Quarry to sell sand at affordable prices.
“The price should not be too expensive,” he argued. “If it does, many will be affected because people rely on that mining company to get sand.”
Omar Touray, president of General Tipper Association, associated the high cost of sand with the closure of several coastal quarries.
Modou Ceesay, another truck owner, said: “The constraint of sand should be resolved and the only solution is making a discount on the price.”
However, he called on the government to work with SMJ Sand Quarry and the association to reduce the price of sand for the benefit of all.
Ebrima Gabba Cham, secretary general of the Workers Union, who is in solidarity with the tipper drivers, described the high cost of sand as a cause for concern, saying “everyone wants to build a house”.
“This has rendered many to abandon construction of houses or other buildings,” he said, emphasizing the fact that government needs to establish the cause of the high cost of sand and come up with a solution to the problem.
He advised the association to engage stakeholders in the matter to ensure the problem is resolved at a win-win situation.
He suggested that government should establish a public institution that should regulate the mining industry.
“The public is the victim of the high cost of sand,” Omar Ceesay, president of the General Transport Union, said sagaciously.