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GACH black sand mining in Sanyang, The Gambia

In 2018, GACH Mining started extracting black sand in Sanyang and nearby villages without local consent. Women farmers lost their livelihoods, but their complaints to the government have so far been unresolved and denied.


In 2018, The Gambian government issued a mining license to Gambia Angola China (GACH) Mining Company to mine black sand, which has high concentrations of zircon, silica, and quartz, in Sanyang village, Kombo South. GACH allegedly also carries out undisclosed black sand mining in nearby villages Batokunku and Kitty. The company has a controversial history, as it also imports guns into the country with support from the Police Force despite firearms being severely restricted [1]. Sand mining itself is also controversial in The Gambia owing to a history of governmental impunity for resource exploitation under the formal dictatorial regime of ex-president Jammeh [2]. Killings took place at Faraba Banta. More about The Gambia’s overall history of sand mining is available at:

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:GACH black sand mining in Sanyang, The Gambia
Country:Gambia, The
State or province:Kombo South
Location of conflict:Sanyang
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Sand, gravel
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Gambia Angola China (GACH) Mining Company, founded in 2017, is a Gambian-owned company headed by Abubakary Jawara, who is also the Gambian consul general to China. It primarily exports black sand to China at $200 per ton [2, 3].

Level of Investment:1,500,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/01/2018
Company names or state enterprises:Gambia Angola China Mining Company from Gambia, The
Relevant government actors:Brikama Area Council (BAC), Village Development Committee of Sanyang (VDC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Kitty One Organisation for Poverty Alleviation (KOOPA)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Soil erosion
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Court decision (undecided)
Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The black sand mining continues with impunity as the women's pleas for compensation after their farmland was destroyed continue to go unheard. Many women are no longer able to continue living on their land and have since been displaced elsewhere.
Sources & Materials

[1] The Chronicle. Kitty Women Gardeners Fear the Worst as GACH Global Mining Activities Intensify (Manneh 2019)
[click to view]

[2] The Fatu Network. Gambia Government Issues License To GACH Mining Company To Export Black Sand (2018)
[click to view]

[3] The Point. Gov’t issues licence to GACH Mining Company to export black sand (2018)
[click to view]

[4] The Point. Sanyang women rice farmers demand compensation from GACH (Jobe 2020)
[click to view]

[5] Joroyaa. GACH denies destroying rice fields in Sanyang (Manneh 2020)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Dalena Tran, ICTA-UAB, [email protected]
Last update08/01/2021
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