SIGN ON | Suspend Base Toliara Mining Project in Madagascar permanently

Your Excellency ANDRY RAJOELINA

President of the Republic of Madagascar

RE: Suspension of Base Toliara Mining Project

Dear Mr. President

toliara sands protestThe organisations listed at the bottom of this letter, all working to support communities facing large mining and infrastructure projects, are writing to congratulate you and the Malagasy Authorities for the courageous and responsible decision taken on the 6th November 2019 to suspend the Base Toliara mining activities. You have taken this step despite likely pressures exerted by the project promoters and their financiers. We wish to acknowledge this as a great step in respecting the fundamental rights of the Malagasy people to life and well-being, to protection of the natural resources upon which they depend, and respect for their land rights.

Mr. President, as you are well aware, the establishment of the Base Toliara mining project in the three mining concessions of Manombo, Ankililoaka and Basibasy, currently under exploration, will affect many people living around the Mikea Forest, especially the Mikea indigenous group. The Mikea people maintain distinct customs and traditions and already live in precarious conditions, depending on land and forest resources including medicinal plants for their very survival. They have limited access to market, medical care, education and other public services.

If mining proceeds, the affected communities will be removed from their land and face resource use restrictions which will affect their livelihoods and their health. This has particular implications for the Mikea women who are primarily responsible for the collection of potable water; the harvesting of materials for house construction, and the weaving of baskets and mats; fishing; and the pasturing of livestock.  Moreover, the mining company’s operations are likely to pollute the Manombo river, a key source of water for people and their livestock, as well as fish which are an important part of the local people’s diet.  Large scale mining always entails the removal of people from their land and with this the destruction of social relations, community harmony, and the breaking of ties to the ancestors. The entry of male workers from outside of the area will also undermine social relations, and will likely increase interpersonal violence, violence against women, and the abuse of substances, such as alcohol. This affects women in very particular ways because of the limited power they hold in their families and communities.

Through this letter, the undersigned are urging you and the entire Government to take a step forward and to bring a permanent halt to the mining project out of respect for the Mikea people and other affected communities, and their fundamental rights as Malagasy citizens and as indigenous people.  Madagascar is well-known for its wildlife and culture and is home to some of the world’s most unique flora and fauna that are endemic to the island. Ilmenite mining in the Toliara region will adversely affects the environment by inducing loss of biodiversity, soil erosion and contamination of surface water, groundwater and soil.

We strongly encourage you to extend your commitment to negotiate with Base Toliara during the next period, and instead bring your attention to the affected communities on their numerous well-founded concerns about the mining project. It is important that their voices be heard, and that they enjoy the right of consent given the impacts of the proposed projects on their lives. We also encourage you to undertake a cost-benefit analysis to fully recognise and calculate the short, medium and long-term impacts of this project. In this regard the inter-generational costs, the costs to sensitive ecology and ultimately to the climate will be critically important to consider.

Given that women will carry the burden of impacts – which our organisations have well identified and documented across Africa and the rest of the world – we encourage your government to focus particular attention on women’s voices and concerns as you widen the consultation and involve more community actors in decision-making.

We believe the communities have their own vision of development and a more sustainable alternative they will want to promote which we hope you would listen to and embrace in your plans for the future.

Thank you for your attention in this matter. We work closely with Association MA.ZO.TO, CRAAD OI and the Tany Collectif and will continue to monitor the developments around the Base Toliara project and your renewed efforts to consult the affected peoples. We hope and believe that the rights of indigenous people to Free Prior and Informed Consent will be respected and implemented by your government.

Sincerely yours,

 

 

 

 Collectives and organisations on board

Women and Gender and Extractive Alliance, WoMin

[under construction….]

In solidarity with:

ASSOCIATION MA.ZO.TOThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.http://craadoi-mada.com

CRAAD-OI : Centre de Recherches et d’Appui pour les Alternatives de Développement  - Océan Indien This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; http://craadoi-mada.com

Collectif pour la défense des terres malgaches – TANY  
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; http://terresmalgaches.infowww.facebook.com/TANYterresmalgaches