By Amadou Jadama
Alhaji Momodou Samateh, the managing director of Sino Majilac Jalbak Investment Company, a sand dredging company located at Denton Bridge, has announced plans to restore land destroyed by sand mining in the coastal areas including five abandoned quarries in Batokunku, Tujereng, Sanyang, Sambuya, Gunjur and Kartong, to end what he called neglect of environmental restoration.
Mr Samateh added that if given the opportunity by the government, his company will restore these areas within five years.
Samateh made these remarks while on a tour of the abandoned sand mining sites meant to brief journalists on his company’s activities at Denton Bridge as well as its plans to target land reclamation to restore the environmental destruction along the Kombo South coastal sea sides.
According to him, SMJ intends to work closely with the government, local communities and the environmental experts to assess the level of damage caused by inland sand mining as well as transform abandoned quarries into a modern environmental rejuvenation. He said the project is the first of its kind and will fully address the destruction caused by coastal sand quarries over the years.
Speaking to the journalists, Mr Samateh expressed his disappointment over the damages these quarries caused.
“These are the prime lands of the Gambia and we could be making millions out of these prime lands. If reclaimed and restored, they can accommodate hotels, parks, sports infrastructures and other tourist attractions which in turn will generate employment for the youths of the Kombo coastal area. The intention of SMJ is to refill and reclaim
these areas. We think it is possible and it is the only way to get these places usable again,” MD Samateh said.
He observed that it will be hard for any government anywhere to fund the reclamation of these areas. “Restoration is very expensive; we have done the feasibility studies using international standard. In terms of the time frame, we intend to do this within five years if we are given the opportunity, “he said.
“So, the idea is the company will come in to reclaim all these lands and in return the government will give them a piece of land or areas to be able to get their investment back,” he said.
According to the SMJ boss, his company has already procured a new ocean dredger currently moored at Denton Bridge for the sole purpose of the coastal land reclamation project. He added that the Government of the Gambia is very excited about this project and they are working in consultation with the local communities before they commence.
Mr Samateh further revealed that the sand his company produces is 95 percent salt free and their selling price is affordable.
The media were later taken on a conducted tour of the company’s facilities including the sand screening and sand washing machine at Denton Bridge as well as the purchasing point.
The officials of the company and the media later proceeded to Kombo South to see the environmental impact of sand mining on the beaches of Batokunku, Tujereng, Sambuya, Sanyang, Gunjur and Kartong.