Illegal sand mining in Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia


In May 2009 Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a ban on sand exports with the objective of improving regulation of the sector and ensuring environmental protection.

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Basic Data
NameIllegal sand mining in Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia
ProvinceKoh Kong Province
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 CommoditiesSand, gravel
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe government of Singapore reported to the United Nations Statistics Division Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade) that it imported 3.8 million tonnes of sand from Cambodia in 2008; equivalent statistics from Cambodia for sand exports from all provinces are not available on the UN Comtrade website.

Calculations made by Global Witness [1], based on the best available sources (due to the lack of public information on actual trade), however, estimate the total quantity of sand extracted and exported for the three concessions to be approximately 796,000 tonnes each month (300,000 tonnes for L.Y.P. Group, 379,000 tonnes for Mong Reththy Group and 117,000 tonnes for Udom Seima).

In Singapore, the government agency JTC purchases sea sand from intermediary companies for approximately US$26 per ton. The trade from Koh Kong province would be valued in Singapore at approximately US$20 million each month; this equates to US$248 million per annum.
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date01/10/2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesL.Y.P. Group Co Ltd (L.Y.P) from Cambodia - controls Koh Kong’s sand sector
Mong Reththy Group (MRG) from Cambodia - Illegal sand exports to Singapore
Government of Singapore, Ministry of National Development from Singapore - Main purchaser of the sand
Relevant government actorsSenator H.E. Ly Yong Phat Senator H.E. Mong Reththy

Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGlobal Witness
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationOfficial complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow)
Othershore receding
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
New legislation
A Ban on Sand exports that is not being enforced
Development of AlternativesGlobal Witness:

The government of Cambodia should immediately suspend all export-orientated sand exploitation activities. Review all licences in accordance with Cambodian law, through an independent working group representing involved ministries and affected communities. Conduct a full review of the legal framework governing the exploitation of sand, including environmental regulations. Adopt the Precautionary Principle as the basis for managing natural resource exploitation. Provide compensation to the local people affected by sand dredging activities, in accordance with Cambodian national law and international best practice.

Cambodia’s international donors should disburse funds only after the government achieves reforms for transparent and accountable management of natural resources and their revenues.

The government of Singapore should suspend all imports of sand from Cambodia and put in place guidelines for sustainable sourcing of raw materials from outside of its national boundaries, which are in compliance with international industry dredging best practice guidelines.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Illegal sand mining continues.
Sources and Materials

Ramsar Convention
[click to view]


[1] Global Witness report - Shifting sand (2010)
[click to view]

[3] Global Witness 2011
[click to view]

[4] Cambodia Daily News 2013
[click to view]

[2] Phnom Penh Post 2011
[click to view]


Ecologist 2010
[click to view]

Other Documents

Sand mining2 Dredging operations in the L.Y.P. Group’s concession area on the Koh Por river (November 2009).
[click to view]

Sand mining1 Dredging operations taking place right beside Koh Kong’s protected mangrove forests and within the Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary (November 2009).
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJakob Villioth ([email protected])
Last update24/07/2014