Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, July 5, 2022


Rio Tinto’s Madagascar mine restarts after reaching deal with protesters

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Rio Tinto’s QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) mineral sands mine restarted production on Monday following a five-day halt, after reaching an agreement with demonstrators who had set up roadblocks at the site, Rio told Reuters on Tuesday.

Communities surrounding QMM’s mine in southeastern Madagascar have been protesting over a release of water from the mine site into the surrounding environment, after which dead fish were found.

Rio says water sampling data shows no link between the water release and the dead fish.

QMM decided to curtail operations on May 18 due to the community unrest, Rio said. QMM produces ilmenite which is shipped to a Rio Tinto plant in Quebec to be processed into titanium dioxide.

“Following an agreement signed on 22 May between QMM, the authorities and demonstrators, all roadblocks were dismantled enabling QMM to resume operations yesterday (23 May),” Rio said.

At the signing, QMM gave the communities zebus and rice “as a symbol of reconciliation”, and agreed to continue providing food supplies to the affected fishing community for a further two months.

QMM started giving food supplies in mid-March to that community of between 5,000 and 7,000 people, Rio said, despite the data showing no direct link between QMM activities and the dead fish.

Rio had come under fire at its London annual general meeting over the water release. Former chairman Simon Thompson told the AGM the company would build a water treatment plant and develop clean water projects for surrounding communities.

Rio on Tuesday said it expected the new process water treatment unit to be in place by the middle of this year.

(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Jan Harvey and Chizu Nomiyama)


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