By Madiba Singhateh
The Managing Director and Proprietor of Sino Majilac Jalbak, Alhaji Momodou Samateh, said his company will restore old mining sites or quarries in the Kombos through dredging.
MD Samath said dredging is the solution for the devastating environmental impacts caused by sand mining companies along the Coast.
Samateh on Thursday, 9 November took the press on a conducted site tour of the company and its old mining quarries in Kombo coastal.
Samateh said a feasible study conducted by Haskoning B.V. Consulting Engineers and Architects Netherlands for the Gambia in 2000 indicated that between Oyster Creek and Banjul, there is a huge deposition of sand and the formation of sand spit.
“And because of the sand spit the water could not carry sediments to Banjul, all the sediments from the river and the ocean meet there. When the sand falls, then it doesn’t go when it doesn’t go another also comes and falls on the same spot. As a result, Banjul has not nourished the way it is supposed to be,” Samateh said.
MrSamateh said currently sand is not going to Banjul because of the deposition of the sand there.
“So, as the report mentioned, for erosion to stop this deposit needs to be removed and when it is removed sand will go to Banjul and the areas behind the cemetery behind State House. The ocean will be able to nourish the area but without this, they said they need to be doing beach nourishment every 10 to 15 years.”
He said the last breach of nourishment was in 2000 (23 years ago).
“So, the report mentioned that every year there will be an erosion of about 2-3 meters,” Samateh said.
The MD said currently, most of the coastal dunes in Tujereng are already exhausted. He added that Batokunku, which has no dunes (inside Former President Jammeh’s fence land), has been completely exhausted.
“Now, mining has been stopping temporarily,” Samateh said.
Samateh, an engineer by Profession, said around 8 million meters square of sand and 800 hectares of land from Kartong to Batokunku are completely exhausted.
“This land could house 400 Five Star hotels (100m x 200) or 15,000 (20mx 25m) sea view compounds with green areas. At an average price of 2 million dalasi. This could generate the government about 608 Million in revenue,” he said.
He said about 40 Million Cubic meters are needed to refill the area with an estimated cost of 600 Million Dollars. Also, in addition, MrSamateh, speaking at the sand washing site and sand screening site, said the sand washing machine washes sediments. He explained that the machine was brought for the OIC project as they have issues with sand, saying that their sand had salt contents and sediments so they brought this equipment for washing those sands and sediments.
Speaking at the briefing the former director of NEA, MommodouJamaSuwareh, said the Company is the first company that came into the Gambia to do dredging on a commercial basis to prevent or halt the devastating problems they are having along the coastline. Suwareh said the people of Kombo will continue to lose their valuable lands if nothing is done to address this.
“They lost everything because of sand mining. Though it is a good economic adventure it’s also a very bad one with regard to the environment,” he said.
Mr. Suwareh said in other parts of the world dredging has been the solution.
“I think all of you will remember the Faraba incident which even cost lives it cost me very self for be suspended and the director of Geology from our job not even there because they felt the environment Agency and the Geology department did not do much to prevent that problem, these were all the challenges we were experiencing with sand mining,” he said.
Banka Manneh, the public relations manager of the company, said in the degraded mines, one couldn’t build houses, hotels and restaurants –adding, “You can’t turn them into dream parks, women cannot do gardening anymore and they can’t plant rice over they are all gone.”