Customs departments across Vietnam have been asked to stop clearing the export of silica sand as per a government order to preserve the resource.
Silica sand is quartz broken down by water and wind into tiny granules used as the primary component in glassmaking.
According to statistics acquired by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Vietnamese companies shipped nearly 800,000 metric tons of silica sand to foreign markets last year.
Silica sand exports for 2017 were forecast to pass the one-million-ton mark.
The General Department of Vietnam Customs had previously added silica sand to its list of price-sensitive goods subject to government control over their export rate.
Accordingly, the sale of washed silica sand to foreign buyers was given a price floor of US$20 and price ceiling of $116 per ton.
In March, a series of investigative reports by Tuoi Tre revealed that Vietnam’s sand was being transported to Singapore to fuel an ongoing megaproject in the city-state.
The revelation sent a shockwave through the local public and authorities, prompting Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to take firm steps to put an end to the resource drainage, including a decision to indefinitely halt saline sand exports from September.
The recent dispatch by the General Department of Vietnam Customs asking its subordinate bodies to cease their clearance of silica sand for export is therefore seen as another move toward preserving Vietnam’s natural resources.