WISCO Soalala iron ore, Madagascar


China's third-largest steelmaker, Wuhan Iron & Steel Co (WISCO), started exploratory drilling for iron ore in Madagascar's Soalala region in 2011.

See more...
Basic Data
NameWISCO Soalala iron ore, Madagascar
ProvinceBoeny Region
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Ports and airport projects
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesIron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsDuration of the contract: 30 years

Estimated stock of iron ore: 600 to 700 millions t

Concession of 430.000 ha

WISCO's commitments: US$ 600 millions of tax (for the Malagasy State) ; US$ 228 millions of royalties (for the Government of Madagascar and the decentralized communities) ; Creation of 100,000 positions ; Construction of an international Port in Soalala, the biggest one in Madagascar (with a capacity of 150,000 tonnes) ; Construction of roads and driveways ; Energy supply (thermal power plant of 300-400 megawatts of electricity, fuel, transmission and distribution)
Project Area (in hectares)430,000
Level of Investment (in USD)2,000,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population10,000 to 15,000
Start Date01/04/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesWuhan Iron & Steel Co (WISCO) from China
Relevant government actorsFormer President Andry Rajoelina, Office of National Mines and Strategic Industries (OMNIS) , Ministry of Planning and decentralization, Chief of Boeny Region, The National Environment Office (ONE) , Economic Development Board of Madagascar (EDBM), Malagasy Environment Ministry, Mines and Hydrocarbons Ministry, Malagasy Mining Cadastre

Environmental justice organisations and other supporters Platform of Civil Society Organizations (SIF), Madagascar National Park (MNP), Durell Wildlife Madagascar, TANY Collective for the Defence of Land in Madagascar, Alliance Voahary Gasy (AVG), Madagascar Environmental Justice Network (MEJN), Friends of the Earth (FoE) (France)

The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Conservation Organisations (Durell Wildlife and Madagascar National Parks) ; Political Parties (TIM and GTT) ; Tour operators in the area of the National Park
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
In September 2013, representatives of inhabitants and local elected in Ambohipaky and Ankasakasa came in Antananarivo to denounce the injustices they are facing in their region with the WISCO iron ore project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills, Other Environmental impacts, Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
OtherRisk of degradation of the Baly Bay ecosystems ; Risk of disappearance of endangered species (Angonoky turtles) specific to this site.
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Other Health impacts
OtherThe Platform of civil society SIF is very concerned about the Tailings site that WISCO plans to build
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Displacement
OtherAll the mining regions of Madagascar became very attractive to foreign investors so the cost of living is too expensive for the local communities. This situation increases cultural problems, prostitution, alcoholism and insecurity.
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseThe project was temporarily suspended for a short time but now it's ongoing
Development of AlternativesTANY is against the displacement of population in Soalala

TANY asked to the Government to explain how was expended the amount of US$ 100 million

TANY asked to the Chinese Company WISCO to precise if the 100.000 positions they promised, are all for Malagasy people
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.TANY denouces a pseudo public consultation

According to the mayor of the municipality of Ambohipaky in Soalala, "the State has never consulted them and the Chinese are just coming to plant pegs on their rice fields".

According to SIF, the State had decided to allocate the Soalala communities land in its name.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) who conducted a mission in Madagascar doesn't understand why this kind of project has been allowed in a region where the biodiversity is so vulnerable (very close to the Baly Bay)
Sources and Materials

China's Wuhan to explore for iron in Madagascar
[click to view]

WISCO Soalala: Land requisition denounced
[click to view]

Other Documents

WISCO public consultation
[click to view]

Soalala mine site
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorVahinala RAHARINIRINA
Last update12/02/2015