“We would argue that sand mining is having as big, if not a bigger impact on the delta and Cambodian reaches. It’s been shown to be the biggest driver of saline intrusion in the delta, and resulting in enhanced bank erosion more so than hydropower,”
– Chris Hackney (University of Newcastle), Julian Leyland and Steve Darby (University of Southampton)
At present, Cambodia has 49 active sand mining licenses spanning 2,320 (5,730 acres) of the Mekong and Bassac rivers, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy. In 2020, the ministry reported that 11.7 million cubic meters (413 million cubic feet) of sand were extracted, followed by 11.5 million cubic meters (406 million cubic feet) in 2021. The first six months of 2022 have already seen 6.1 million cubic meters (215 million cubic feet) of sand mined from the two rivers.