The mining sector is key in the economic development of every country. Minerals are used in different sectors as raw materials and their demand is expected to increase with the anticipated boom in industrialisation and urbanisation. Although in the past, the mining sector was characterised by the common precious minerals including gold, diamonds, copper, tin, cobalt just to mention but a few. In recent years, countries are putting emphasis on the crucial role of developmental or construction minerals/materials including sand and gravel.
The impact of construction minerals has been ignored for decades and this explains the institutional and regulatory gap in the governance and development of these minerals at the national, regional and international level. Nevertheless, the important role of these materials is now obvious following the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 which emphasises the need for sustainable cities and communities. Construction materials such as sand are key in the construction of these cities.
There are indeed several construction minerals that are key in achieving UN SDG 11, however, this short paper will focus on sand mining. Sand is one of the most mined material and yet the least regulated globally. Whereas there are several issues to be addressed with respect to sand mining, this paper will focus on the regulatory and institutional gaps in the governance and management of sand mining in African countries. The paper also follows the practical questions asked by some African policymakers during the online seminar organised by the Extractive Hub on the 1st of May, where I presented on the issue of ‘Sand Mining & Land Access’.