Sad mine in Madagascar

For over twenty years, Rio Tinto, Anglo-Australian mining giant, already present in the main areas of the globe, prospecting in the region of Fort Dauphin in the south east of Madagascar in search of ilmenite. This black sand rich in titanium oxide is used as a pigment for paint, in the steel, automobile bodies, shotgun shells, blast furnaces or cosmetics. The deposit would have a potential for exploitation of about sixty years in this landlocked area where unemployment remained among the highest in the country.
The project, supported by the World Bank and the Ravalomanana government began in 2005, when the work began, despite "significant risk of effects on biodiversity and the population of the region," according to Friends of the Earth . Multinationals, through its subsidiary QIT Madagascar Minerals SA (QMM) and won the general enthusiasm, especially that of large NGOs like Birdlife, promising the project to "become the showcase of its new commitments and the springboard for many other projects on the territory of Madagascar. " Bruno Buckwheat (*) then wrote in the journal Vertigo as "development model suggested by the different actors of the project was based on an equation that growth helps reduce poverty while protecting the forest doomed to disappear." . In partnership with the Malagasy government, the subsidiary QMM succeeded in securing an agreement on 25 years of establishment and construction of the ore port in Ehoala for which the Malagasy government has a debt of 35 million dollars from World Bank .

Local employment failed.

During the first phase, employment was at the rendezvous. Subcontractors, as the French company Colas perform work, (thanks to operate a huge open-pit rock quarry), the port Ehoala, the deepest of the Indian Ocean. To export the ore, a road linking the port to the mine site Mandena is built, as well as schools or clinics. Employed mostly as laborers or drivers without them then be offered training (managers and skilled workers are recruited in Canada, the capital and in South Africa), employees receive income beyond the national average. These new rich will change the balance of local economic, resulting in the emergence of new services (catering, hotel business, telephony) égalemnt but a general increase in prices and a loss of purchasing power for the poorest. QMM has now entered phase operating for six months. But since then, layoffs emanating subcontractors reach a record level. (1: Julian)
Maurice Soybeans, Chief Ilanfintsinana neighborhood, village displaced, estimates that payments for expropriations (former fishermen and farmers Ehoala site of the old village of Ilanfintsinana now replaced by career) for those who were affected, do not offset their shortfall. "QMM announced in 2006 that farmers expropriated families they would pay a second dédomagement end of 2008 equivalent to the first, we are in June 2009 and the families are still waiting. QMM talks of 1200 she trained farmers to culture maraîchèreJe not putting all my suspicion on MSQ, local authorities also have a responsibility, due to lack of transparency in their budget and various arrangements, not paying directly QMM money to the people. "

Concern about the environment, economic implications.

When MSQ is exemplified by the World Conservation Congress organized by IUCN (The area surrounding the mine Mandena also see the plant environment is change. (One of the last primeval forests of the country saw itself develop, thanks to a wet climate, many species of this forest, whose mahampy, a wild grass used for decades by women from surrounding villages to make mats, hats and baskets, were developing. Earnings of those sales came as complete income between harvests, when it was not the only source of wealth. At the time of clearing Mandena, QMM has recovered some of the beans he planted in tiny plots insufficient to perpetuate the activity of women who now have to rent a truck to go far to harvest the cane.'s time and money and less for those women who have yet to face. (2: Women's Association). "Heads Village does not deal with the public and NGOs are not present here, compared to the region Ambondrombe (nddr: zone further west regularly prone to famine). Beyond our initial activity control against leprosy, we built a school with the help of external grants and people of the village. Here, we offer tuition and lunches to a growing number of local children, parents can no longer cope at all "concerned about a nun.

A prostitution and syphilis rates alarming.

"The explosion of purchasing power in 2006 and the influx of immigrant workers, whether of Antananarivo, the capital of South Africa or Canada, had an undeniable effect on the increase sexually transmitted diseases in the city, "said a doctor, member of Top Network, an NGO specialized in the health of young Fort Dauphine. "The number of syphilis infections from 40% in young Fort Dauphine announced by the ministry of health are largely under-estimated" says a Canadian student working on this topic. Often from a poor family, sometimes isolated with their children, these young women if these girls are turning to prostitution to supplement their meager incomes. Some can be pushed by their parents or husbands. Condom use remains uncertain, "then they return home and infect their husbands because of neglecting the hood for 5000 or 10000 ariarys more (2 to 4 euros). If they contract the disease, little talk is taboo and shameful, "said a prostitute.

The future of an industry dependent on government?

According to an unnamed employee of MSQ, the money generated by the first export of ilmenite May (35,000 tons) would cover all investments for twenty years. Not to mention some seventy grams of gold extracted per tonne of ilmenite produced (about 2.5 tonnes since the start of operations) would disappear from the wild every week aboard a small plane without anyone being allowed to control them. "Everyone is aware of this activity," says the employee, before concluding: "My dream would be that the foundry, instead of being in Canada, to be built here, so that the population derives most of its profit own wealth. " Recently Rajoelina and High Transitional Authority are to engage private firm Drake and Bart French to evaluate the contracts between the Malagasy government and major mining investors, the objective being to assess the balance of profits both parties. "We will decide at the conclusion of this audit will be needed to revise contracts for such major projects," said the head of the HAT.
Since July 10 last, the port Ehoala is officially open to the public. Asians and the Saudis seem interested in the new proximity and accessibility of the southern part. "A nation as wealthy as ours can not afford to be poor. That's why so many investors want to come home, "the minister launched the public. For his part, prefers to speak of the MSQ possible export of sisal via the new port or host hypothetical cruise ships that local employment. "What's the point of creating jobs to bring all these people out of work then? plague a person. "QMM should enable the construction sites where he prospected in St Luce Petriky north and south, it would boost the local economy." Launch sites surrounding a solution to save Fort Dauphin of the impasse in which it is?. One thing is certain: Madagascar can now cope alone. And in these times of political crisis drags on, "Beyond the agreement which has just been signed in Maputo which should prove positive for the economy, establishing a new government needs to First restore the confidence of operators, "said Hugh Rajaonson club member economists Madagascar in the Daily Express. Meanwhile, the political crisis continues and relations with key donors remain on standby. Fort Dauphin and its people still waiting to see the project of opening up the road materialize, always keeping as far from the rest of the country and closer to the rest of the world ...

Emmanuel Blivet. 2009.