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NEWSLETTER #127 (EN) - THE POPULAR MOVEMENT OPPOSING THE BASE TOLIARA PROJECT IS GOING ON

publié by Admin 2, le Thursday 3 October 2019

NEWSLETTER #127 (EN)

* CRAAD-OI - Centre de Recherches et d’Appui pour les Alternatives au Développement – Océan Indien

* Collectif pour la défense des terres malgaches – TANY

THE POPULAR MOVEMENT OPPOSING THE BASE TOLIARA PROJECT IS GOING ON

Several articles in various Malagasy media announced that the communities opposing the mining project of the Australian company Base Resources had changed their mind and henceforth accepted the operation of mineral sand in the Ranobe area, with a view to producing ilmenite and other metals, as well as the building of the ore port in Andaboy. The concerned communities reacted strongly to this media campaign last week.

The Tany Collective and CRAAD-OI are willing to recall the main data of the situation with a view to inform persons and or organisations who follow up and support the popular movement struggling against the Base Toliara mining project.

THE MINING COMPANY MANOEUVRES

At the beginning of August, press articles announced the “official reconciliation” between the Base Toliara company on one side, and headmen and communities opposing the project of building the mineral harbour and the pier in Toliara I on the other side, in the frame of a traditional ceremony including a gift of cattle, “aiming at cancelling the agreement” established previously by these communities opposed to the mining project, and in respect of their customs.

The Base Toliara general manager, as quoted in one of the articles, declares : ”I assure you that the ilmenite operation will not have any radioactive effect”. In order to reassure fishermen, the dimensions of some elements of the pier will be modified in order to allow the fishing machines to move around the minerals export harbour (1). In rural areas, an article mentions that the company says that they agreed with the communities of five municipalities to build 96 graves to replace those which will be displaced, in addition to the distribution of financial compensations (2).

LOCAL COMMUNITIES CONFIRM THEIR OPPOSITION TO THE MINING PROJECT

Last week two television news, on TVPlus on 7 and 12 of august, showed that meetings of local associations and the concerned communities were organised in several places in Toliara I and Toliara II, in order to discuss and confirm their solidarity and determination to oppose the mining project. The president of the Ma.Zo.To. association said again that a great number of persons might be hired at the beginning of the project, but most of them are in the risk of losing their job afterward, and therefore people must think and be clear facing the seduction trials of the mining company. He also spoke of the vital stake linked to the radioactivity risk due to the ilmenite operation, because of the levels of uranium and thorium which are so high in Ranobe that they are a risk for population to get severe diseases and problems which may affect their children (3).

The president of the Zanadriake fishermen association said that some people spoofed the title of responsibles of the association and that the great majority of the Vezo inhabitants of the region still continue to oppose the mining project. In particular another member of the concerned communities declared that only them can take care of their graves and no one else. Besides an off voice says that inhabitants of the Tsianisiha and Ankilimanilike areas said that in spite of arrests for defending their ancestors lands, they are still determined to refuse the mining operation and that silence during last weeks does not mean acceptation. Moreover communities from a fokontany complained of being subject to pressures to oblige them to accept the ilmenite operation project.

CONCLUSION

Being that according to the report of the pre feasibility study published by Base Resources on March 21, 2019, metals which will be extracted from the mineral sands of Ranobe will be numbering 4, among which ilmenite and zircon, and that the very high rate of uranium and thorium in the zircon will make the products forbidden for export in several countries (4), assure that “the ilmenite operation will not have radioactive effect” is a misleading speech aiming at “reassuring” the Malagasy communities.

The CRAAD-OI and the Tany Collective call upon all citizens in Madagascar and throughout the world to reinforce their support to the Atsimo Atsinanana communities facing the loud risks which threaten their economic, land related, social, environmental and cultural rights. These communities still wait for the official expression of the decision of the Malagasy Republic president relating to their request for definitely stopping the Base Toliara mining project.

The organisations who signed this communiqué reiterate their urgent call to the authorities in charge to positively answer to their request, and to guarantee the transparency in decision making on the subject. Because the June 2019 activity report of the Base Resources company proves that the company’s works are making significant progress (5).

August 15, 2019

*CRAAD-OI - Centre de Recherches et d’Appui pour les Alternatives au Développement – Océan Indien : craad.madagascar@gmail.com ; http://craadoi-mada.com

*Collectif pour la défense des terres malgaches – TANY : patrimoine.malgache@yahoo.fr ; http://terresmalgaches.info ; www.facebook.com/TANYterresm...

REFERENCES :

(1) http://www.midi-madagasikara.mg/eco...

(2) https://www.newsmada.com/2019/08/06...

(3) http://terresmalgaches.info/spip.ph...

(4) https://www.baseresources.com.au/wp... ; (page 20) http://terresmalgaches.info/spip.ph... https://news.mongabay.com/2019/07/m...

(5) https://www.baseresources.com.au/wp...


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