cessation of activities at the country’s main mine, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto

Published on : 21/05/2022 – 14:21

In Madagascar, this had never happened, even during the Covid-19 pandemic. The exploitation of an ore rich mainly in titanium, ilmenite, extracted by QQM, a subsidiary of Rio Tinton and 20% owned by the Malagasy State, announces in a press release ” reduce its activity » from Friday, May 20 and until further notice, due to « the current instability ».

With our correspondent in Antananarivo, Laura Verneau

The announcement of the QQM plant is due to the conflict which has been opposing, for several months, the neighboring communities and this mining company located in Fort-Dauphin, in the south-east of the country. A conflict that only gets worse.

The mining activities of the QQM plant are stopped, only the maintenance of the equipment is ensured, with a view to a resumption, when the climate will be calmer.

Contacted by email, the company justifies this unprecedented decision by ” increased community unrest ” who ” endanger the security and safety of personnel. »

Wednesday, May 18, further specifies QMM, employees could not return home because of illegal roadblocks, erected by disgruntled residents.

According to a local source, the Ministers of Water, Environment and Mines were on site Friday, May 20, in Fort-Dauphin to begin discussions with the management of QMM and ease tensions. The company does not wish, for the moment, to comment on this meeting.

The decision to stop does not come out of nowhere. At the beginning of the month, residents had already blocked the roads. They accuse QMM, among other things, of having polluted the estuary, in mid-February, with the waste water basin that would have flowed into it.

Read also: Madagascar: civil society warns of a risk of water pollution in Fort-Dauphin

The company has so far denied these accusations.

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