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Fast Facts
Resource efficiency and circular economy
Natural hazards
Adaptation to climate change
Funding period
01.05.2019 - 30.04.2023
Funding volume
595.510 €
Funding reference number

Coordinator: C & E Consulting und Engineering GmbH

Contact Person: Dipl.-Ing. Anna Belousova

Address: Jagdschänkenstraße 52, 09117 Chemnitz




Project patners:

  • Fugro Germany Land GmbH
  • Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences


Project patners in Vietnam:

  • Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
  • National University of Civil engineering, Hanoi (Vietnam)
  • Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment

SAND! - Alternative Sand Production and Risk Reduction of Dredging in Vietnam

Sand and gravel are the world's most mined resources. The largest amount by far has been mined in the Asia-Pacific region. Sand extraction is often associated with negative consequences for the environment. In Vietnam, for example, sand extraction from water causes massive environmental problems through dredging. The German-Vietnamese project SAND! is developing technological and management-based methods for reducing the environmental impact of dredging in the Mekong Delta and generating alternative building material resources.

Sand shortage in emerging markets

Sand has become an increasingly global commodity. According to UN Environment, global sediment extraction for the construction industry is currently at around 50 billion tonnes a year. Sand is used not only in the building materials industry, but also for beach ballasts, in shale gas production and in the manufacture of many products, such as electronics. Shortage of sand is one of the most pressing problems in the construction sector in emerging markets, including Vietnam. In addition, there are massive environmental problems caused by dredging for sand extraction from water.

The Vietnamese market for environmental technologies and services is growing dynamically. The mining industry is increasingly looking for solutions for the safe and environmentally friendly use of scarce resources.

The objective of the SAND! project is the development of both technological and management-based methods to reduce the environmental impact of dredging in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta, as well as the development of alternative building material resources to stop dredging in the mid-term.

Nassbaggerei in Vietnam. © Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal, Prof. Dr. Petra Schneider
Dredging in Vietnam. © Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal, Prof. Dr. Petra Schneider


A scenario analysis for risk minimisation will be developed based on modelled simulations and the actual state analysis of the environmental problems caused by dredging. This will focus on stabilising the water bed and the banks of the Mekong Delta as well as reducing the flood risk.

A comparative environmental assessment for alternatives to sand extraction will be developed at the same time. This will include an accounting of primary and secondary raw materials and an option analysis for the exploitation of alternative mineral resources (e.g. through recycling and crushed sand extraction). The existing barriers to implementation of the alternatives are to be eliminated by developing a regulatory framework for the future use of mineral substitute construction materials and crushed sand from solid rock, including the quality assurance requirements for the use of alternative building materials.

Integrative problem-solving approach

The partners involved will pursue needs-based goals and develop practical, marketable methods for the responsible extraction of raw materials as well as the environmental assessment and rehabilitation of mining sites which will be incorporated into future mining projects in Asia. Existing contacts are to be strengthened, new business relationships established and orders for further engineering services during and after project completion obtained.

The province of An Giang serves as a reference example for the applications in Vietnam and beyond. The interdisciplinary project requires a cooperative approach, which in turn requires the practical and theoretical skills of the German and Vietnamese partners in very different fields. The approach includes stocktaking, conceptual and technological development, implementation in a pilot area and assessment of the results of the application, methodology and multiplication for the transfer of results, institutional analysis and training for local partners.

Brechsandgewinnung in Vietnam. © Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal, Prof. Dr. Petra Schneider
Crushed sand extraction in Vietnam. © Hochschule Magdeburg-Stendal, Prof. Dr. Petra Schneider


The project is analysing the sustainability potential both along the value chain and at the regional level with the aim of deriving a best practice strategy.

Technical and political recommendations for action

There is great need for solutions to the shortage of sand not only in Vietnam, but throughout Southeast Asia. Given the rapid economic growth and the swiftly growing demand for raw mineral materials for the construction industry in particular, environmentally friendly technologies are a necessity. Since these problems are relevant not only in the case study region, but also in other parts of Vietnam and Southeast Asia, SAND! can serve as a model.

Overall, the project will contribute to sustainable development in Vietnam by improving sediment management in the Mekong River and related aspects concerning sustainable resource, land and water management, including flood control.