WTR Ranobe forest mining, Madagascar


The Ranobe protected area, which has among the highest endemism of plants and animals anywhere in Madagascar is being targeted by the australian company WORLD TITANIUM RESOURCES (WTR) that aims to exploit several hundred square kilometers of primary spiny forest. The mining project will last up to 100 years, during the course of its operations consuming approximately 30,000 liters of water per minute. The project is nearing approval by local authorities to begin exploitation in 2014.

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Basic Data
NameWTR Ranobe forest mining, Madagascar
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Establishment of reserves/national parks
Tailings from mines
Specific Commoditiesrutile
Titanium ores
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Ranobe sands deposit is in the north of the Port of Toliara in south-west Madagascar, where a large mineral sands resource containing the valuable heavy minerals, specifically ilmenite (for titanium), rutile, zircon and leucoxene, has been identified. The mineralised zone in the Ranobe permit area is around 16 km long and between 1 and 2 km wide. It comprises three mineralised sand units, which together contain approximately 1 200 to 1 400 million tonnes of sand at an average grade of 4 to 5% total heavy minerals (THM).

The Ranobe Mine is projected to produce 407.000 tonne per annum (tpa) of ilmenite and 44,000 tpa of zircon rich concentrate over an initial 21 year mine life. This first phase of development utilises around 17% of the 959 million tonne of mineral resource defined at Ranobe.

The mining area will be cleared of all vegetation.

The project envisages the establishment of a dry mining operation and will include the following infrastructure: Primary processing plant located at the mine site; Mineral separation plant located at the mine site (2alternative locations were considered); Dedicated haul road (3alternative routes were considered); Jetty at the Toliara Lagoon; and Storage facility at the Jetty.

According to the company, 250 direct jobs will be created during the construction phase, expected around 2014. During the operational phase, this number could rise from 1000 to 2000 direct and indirect jobs, including subcontractors and suppliers.
Project Area (in hectares)455
Level of Investment (in USD)216000000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population2000-4400 (3 Communes in Ranobe)
Start Date01/2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesWorld Titanium Resources Ltd (WTR) from Australia - WTR has strong support from two shareholders: Boulle Titanium Limited (20.7%) and Mineral Deposits Limited (14.9%)
Relevant government actorsOffice of National Mines and Strategic Industries (OMNIS) , The National Environment Office (ONE) , Economic Development Board of Madagascar , Malagasy Environment Ministry, Regional Directorate of Water and Forests
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersMA.ZO.TO (Miaro Aina-Zon’olombelona- TOntolo iainana) Environmental Justice Organization

TANY the Collective for Land Defence in Madagascar

Environmental association MITOIMAFI

Madagascar National Parks (MNP)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Some Malagasy journalists and academics published articles criticizing the lack of information available for the local communities
The activist and singer, Theo Rakotovao, called journalists to a press conference in Antananarivo (the capital of Madagascar) to inform the public opinion about the situation in Ranobe Toliara
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Oil spills
OtherThe mining project will last up to 100 years, during the course of its operations consuming approximately 30,000 liters of water per minute. The mining company says theres enough water but local authorities are very concerned about it.
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
OtherLocal villagers are very concerned about the radioctivity issues
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women
OtherIn addition vast areas of tombs would need to be relocated to make way for a new road set to cut through the heart of the protected forest. The relocation of tombs is fady (taboo) in southern Madagascar but local leaders are seduced into breaking custom and convincing the majority of the rural population to go along with the mining companies plan without knowing or considering the long-term impacts.
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseThe Australian company organised a meeting with the local leaders and stakeholders in Toliara, in April 2013.
They also organised an open days in Antananarivo to inform the Malagasy people and civil society of the robustess and safety of the Ranobe mining project.
Development of AlternativesLocal authorities and the Mikea, indigenous people who are mostly hunters and gatherers, have asked for the Protection of the Ranobe spiny forest and their traditional culture. They are mostly opposed to the Ranobe mining project.

But now the situation is more and more complicated, the Environmental Office (ONE) has delivered the environmental permit to the WTR company (March 2015).
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.There is not much informed decision making, negotiating or any objective oversight happening to reduce the impacts the mine would make if the project goes forward. Given the placement of the mine, the road it wishes to construct through the virgin forest, the amount of water it will consume and lack of social accountability in the planning phase, this mining project is a big gamble that threatens the fragile ecosystem underpinning the natural resource base for humans and biodiversity in Toliara region.
Sources and Materials

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI);

Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA)

Law no 99-022 (30 August 1999) and modified by Law no. 2005-021 (17 October 2005). Known as the Mining Code.

Decree no 2000-170 dated 20 February 2000 implementing Mining Code and modified by Decree no. 2006-910 (19 December 2006).

Inter-ministerial Order no 12032/2000 of 6 November 2000. This is about mining areas and environmental protection.

Decree no 99-954 (15 December 1999), amended by Decree no 2004-167 (3 February 2004). This is about compatibility of investments with the environment


conflicting territories ', Field Actions Science Reports [Online], Vol. 3 | 2009.

Barich Antony, 2013, WORLD TITANIUM RESOURCES MADAGASCAR : Grabbing the tiger by the tail, REOURCESTOCKS January/February 2013, 2 p.

Chantal Blanc-Pamard, ' The Mikea Forest Under Threat (southwest Madagascar): How public policy leads to
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Coastal & Environmental Services (CES), 2013, RANOBE MINE PROJECT SOUTHWEST REGION, MADAGASCAR: DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT, Draft prepared by CES for World Titanium resource (WTR), April 2013, 478 p.


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Ranobe Mine rpt English CB050313/Social Impact Assessment.pdf
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The Masikoro local organisation has denounced the complaisance of WWF and the ONE towards the WTR company
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Media Links

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The signer Theo Rakotovao (Mikea) fights for the Mikea rights in the South-West of Madagascar
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Other Documents

Mikea National Park The WTR mining project is in the territory of the Mikea
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WTR Ranobe location
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Drilling in Ranobe
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WTR Drilling in Ranobe
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Meta Information
ContributorVahinala RAHARINIRINA
Last update21/04/2015