MAC: Mines and Communities

Madagascar - Urgent Call for Canadian company to quit Vohitsara

Published by MAC on 2017-09-15
Source: Andrews University, Michigan (2017-09-11)

The following statement is from Angy Plata, a graduate student at Andrews University, Michigan, USA.

We are happy to share it with MAC  readers:

"This past summer I was able to visit Madagascar along with Dr. Joel Luc
Raveloharimisy, who is of Malagasy descent and the Director of the
Community and International Development program at Andrews University.

"Throughout the years, Dr. Raveloharimisy and other students have invested
in the development of Madagascar. One of the places of focus has been
Vohitsara village, where we have built schools, wells, fish ponds, and
sponsored economic activities for the community, particularly women.

"However, we recently discovered that Canadian-based DNI Metals Inc., has
been exploiting the people of Vohitsara, and has significantly impacted
their livelihoods and wellbeing. [Please help us in raising awareness in
putting a stop to this injustice" (see below)

Why DNI must quit Madagascar

Andrews University

11 September 2017

In 2015, mining company DNI Metals Madagascar Sarl (DNI-Mada), a subsidiary of Canadian-based DNI Metals Inc., began site visits to Vohitsara during which trenching, surface sampling and ground geophysics were completed.

Mining laws in Madagascar are governed by the Bureau du Cadastre Minière de Madagascar (BCMM) and all mineral licenses come from them. In conjunction with a mineral permit, any prospecting and exploitation activity require prior environmental impact study. Upon approval and authorization, mining title holders are only allowed to occupy the surface of the area concerned after an agreement on rent is reached with the owner of the surface area.

Both parties must state their individual rights and obligations under a lease agreement. DNI-Mada’s current project in Vohitsara, which is located in central eastern Madagascar in Toamasina province, began its exploration of the area without the consent of the people and with what appears to be improper documentation. Roads were built, canals were dug, and platforms were made with no approval or agreement from the land owners.

This complete disregard for the people’s welfare and trespassing of their land is a direct violation of the Malagasy law by DNI-Mada. Furthermore, a technical report authored by Mr. Steven Goertz, principal of Hendry Consulting and country manager for DNI- Mada, claimed that an Environmental Authorisation was granted on November 30, 2010, but no publicly available information testifies to the legitimacy of this claim.

As such, we are requesting that DNI-Mada make this information available to the public. Upon investigation of the situation in Vohitsara, the people shared that some of them had been approached by 3 members of DNI-Mada and pressured into signing an agreement for meager compensation for indefinite use of their land.

Compensation ranged from about $10 to about $350 for sizeable areas of land and agreements consisted of vague job opportunities with no indications of salary, specifics, or time-length for mining activities.

Consequently, we are requesting that DNI-Mada meet with the landowners that have been affected and compensate them fairly. As a result of DNI-Mada’s lack of transparency and intrusion of the land, Vohitsara citizens have lost their trust in DNI-Mada’s operations.

They have no desire to allow DNI-Mada to continue operating in their village and we are petitioning that DNI-Mada permanently cease mining operations in Vohitsara. We also implore the government of Madagascar and all-related parties to conduct a proper investigation of DNI-Mada’s dealing in Vohitsara and ensure that the law has been followed accordingly.

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