China's third-largest steelmaker, Wuhan Iron & Steel Co (WISCO), started exploratory drilling for iron ore in Madagascar's Soalala region in 2011.
WISCO paid US$100 million for exploration permits in 2010 when Madagascar was under a "coup d'état". Nobody knows how this amount, which represents 10% of the annual operating budget of Madagascar, was expended by the Government of Andry Rajoelina (2009-2013).
Many Environmental Justice Organizations (EJOs) are very concerned because WISCO obtained the exploration and mining rights of an open-cast iron ore mine in a region where the biodiversity is both exceptional and vulnerable. Actually, Soalala is close to Baly Bay National Park which is known to be the successful alliance between two different biodiversities: terrestrial and marine and coastal ecosystem ecosystem. Baly Bay is the only habitat of the endemic turtle Angonoka, a turtle that does not leave the borders of Soalala.
The company WISCO also plans to displace the communities living in this area of 430,000 ha. These local communities are mainly farmers and hunters.