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|Wednesday, December 13, 2000, updated at 19:57(GMT+8)
China Bans Illegal Sand Mining on Yangtze RiverProvinces along the middle and lower reaches of China's longest river, the Yangtze, have coordinated efforts to deal with illegal sand mining, which has posed a threat to the safety of both navigation and embankments.
The Yangtze River is rich in good-quality sand grit. Excessive quantities of the sand grit have been removed from the river in recent years.
Sand mining barges on the river have been blocking water traffic. According to the police in east China's Anhui Province, five of the six navigation accidents in the river section of the province between October 7 to 18 were related to sand barges.
A big barge equipped with simple dredging facilities can extract over 100 tons of sand a day, which is sold at 60-70 yuan per ton at the current price. The profits have roused the interest of sand mining gangs, some of which were found by police to be armed with weapons to carry out the mining.
The Yangtze River Water Resources Committee authorized by the State Council to regulate sand mining activities only allows sand mining for the consolidation of the river embankments. All other sand mining activities carried out without the committee's approval are considered illegal.
From November 5, Anhui banned all forms of sand mining for two years because of the violent resistance of sand mining gangs against the police and damages to the riverbed. All kinds of mining facilities are to be dismantled.
In the Jiujiang section of the river running through Jiangxi Province, where the river meanders sharply, sand mining is said to be accelerating erosion of the narrow river course, posing a great threat to the embankments that protect a large populated plain.
The municipal government announced the ban of all forms of sand mining for three years.
Recent police surveillance along the river reported less mining activities, but sand transportation was found to be continuing.
Sources with the police said that some miners have hidden themselves and the strike is to persist until these miners have been found.
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