Last update:

Ambatovy Mining Project, Madagascar


Ambatovy is a large-tonnage, long-life nickel and cobalt mining enterprise located in Madagascar. Ambatovy is the largest-ever foreign investment in the country and one of the biggest in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean region. It will soon rank among the largest lateritic nickel mining entities in the world.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ambatovy Mining Project, Madagascar
State or province:Tamatave
Location of conflict:Tanandava
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Tailings from mines
Specific commodities:Nickel, Cobalt, Ammonium Sulphate Fertilizer
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Ambatovy will produce 60,000 tonnes of refined nickel, 5,600 tonnes of refined cobalt, and 210,000 tonnes of ammonium sulphate fertilizer annually for at least 29 years. This probably should place nickel among Madagascars most important exports.

Project area:1620
Level of Investment for the conflictive project5500000000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:600,000
Start of the conflict:07/2008
Company names or state enterprises:Sherritt International Corporation from Canada
Sumitomo Corporation from Japan
Korea Resources Corporation (KORES) from Republic of Korea
SNC-Lavalin from Canada
Relevant government actors:The Government environmental agency ONE , The Prime Minister, Minister of Mines, Minister of Water, Minister of Public Health
International and Finance InstitutionsAfrican Development Bank (AfDB)
European Investment Bank (EIB)
Export Development Canada (EDC) from Canada
Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) (KEXIM) from Republic of Korea
Japan Bank for International Corporation (JBIC) from Japan
Commercial banks
The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG) from Japan
BNP Paribas (BNP) from France
Credit Agricole CIB from France
Mizuho Bank (MFG) from Japan
Shinhan Bank from Republic of Korea
Societe Generale (SGA) from France
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) from Japan
Woori Bank from Republic of Korea
ING Bank NV from Netherlands
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:FMMT (Fikambananny Mpamboly sy Mpiompy Tantely), TANY, MiningWatch Canada
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Industrial workers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Campaign in social medias (Blogging, Website, interviews) are led by TANY, FMMT, MiningWatch Canada and some Malagasy activits.
FMMT (Fikambananny Mpamboly sy Mpiompy Tantely), a local association of peasants and beekeepers, wich gathers around 1400 families, claims that the AMBATOVY PROJECT is an ecological disaster. In august 2008, FMMT sent a letter of complain to SHERRIT Toronto in Canada, but they have been received by SHERRIT AMBATOVY only in october 2010.
TANY, a Malagasy civil society organisation, located in Europe, defending the Malagasy lands and the peasants rights, regularly sent letters of complaints to the Government of Madagascar and to SHERRIT AMBATOVY.
MINING WATCH CANADA, a pan-Canadian initiative supported by environmental, social justice, Aboriginal and labour organisations from across the country, published on his website an article to warn about the danger of the AMBATOVY PROJECT in Madagascar('Another Mining Horror Story? Sherritt International Corporations Ambatovy Project in Madagascar')
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills, Air pollution
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Genetic contamination, Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil erosion
Other Environmental impacts-Disappearance of bees
-Fishery depletion
-Water pollution
-River pollution
-Sulphur dioxide leaks
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Deaths
Other Health impacts1 death and 2 injured employees due to a discharge of a gas bubble hydrogen sulfide (H2S) (15 february 2015)
800-1000 people nearby the plant site directly impacted by the sulphur dioxide leaks (2013 and 2014)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Potential: Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
Other socio-economic impactsMany workers are from the Capital Antananarivo, causing frustrations among Tamatave populations.
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
The project benefits have been well promoted in the media. However, the negative consequences of the construction phase of the project to the health and lives of the affected people nearby only reached public attention when there was a serious accident. At least four sulphur dioxide leaks during start-up testing at the plant site between the 26th of February 2012 and 13th of March led to the deaths of 2 adults and 2 babies and the illness of about 50 people. The company headquarters stated on the 8th of March 2012 that the leaks were normal and that the 800 inhabitants living near the plant should be relocated. The Council of Ministers stated that the company was far from doing what they had promised about the victims care and that the water of Ranomainty river was at risk of pollution. An inter-ministerial team made a visit in Tanandava to verify that all the conditions had been met before the government issues the approval for production to begin.
In august 2012, the Malagasy authorities have been saying that they will only deliver the operating permit after they receive the conclusions of research from an international consulting firm about the mines effects on the population and their environment, and that a budget should be drawn up to deal with the eventual negative consequences of the mining operation.
Proposal and development of alternatives:The Malagasy civil society organisation TANY (Collectif pour la defense des terres malgaches, in french) demands:
(1) monitoring and enforcement of the project effects on the environment, and the peoples health and socio-economic life;
(2) research into measures that can be taken to improve environmental and health;
(3)the entire environmental impact study must be made available to the general public.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:According to Sherrit Company, Ambatovy adheres to stringent environmental standards including the Equator Principles, the World Bank Groups IFC Performance Standards and the principles of the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP). But according to MiningWatch Canada and the civil society organisation TANY, there is a huge problem of environmental injustice, even if Ambatovy has done an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), and works in close collaboration with the Malagasy regulator, the National Environment Office (ONE).
The rights and needs of malagasy peasants and people affected by the construction phase - in regard to impacts on land, water, fish and forests were not respected ; the costs for compensation as result of removals, damage, and accidents were not paid; and the promises made to local communities when they were relocated are not fully honoured.
Civil society groups, especially TANY, are demanding that the government of Madagascar force the project to deliver on its promises of environmental safeguards and social responsibility by revising Malagsy mining and investment laws and regulations.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

the LGIM (Law Regarding Large Scale Mining Investments)

The EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Another Mining Horror Story? Sherritt International Corporations Ambatovy Project in Madagascar (by MiningWatch Canada, april 2012)

Verifying the Impacts of Ambatovy : Central Power Ruse or Change of Direction ? (by Collectif TANY, august 2012)

ACTION ALERT: Sherritt Must Be Accountable for All Human and Environmental Damage Caused by the Ambatovy Project (by MiningWatch Canada, may 2012)

[click to view]

Ambatovy PROJECT website
[click to view]

[click to view]

Sherritt Madagascar Mine Workers Strike Over Health-Care Access
[click to view]

Another Mining Horror Story? Sherritt International Corporation’s Ambatovy Project in Madagascar
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network


[click to view]

Other comments:Company documents indicate that the Company is obligated to pay:
US $250,000/year fee for the 50 year lease of mining rights from the Malagasy state (subject to an adjustment for inflation every two years)
An annual land tax equivalent to 1% on the value of the land
An annual property tax equivalent to 1% of the rental value of the buildings. There is a five year exemption for the Project.
Mining royalties payable once the mine is in production equivalent to 1% of metal sales
Meta information
Contributor:Dr Vahinala Raharinirina, Université de Versailles Saint Quentin
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1057
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.