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10 Nov 2021

Madagascar: Fishermen protesting decade-long impact of QMM mining clash with police, two activists & spokespersons arrested; incl. co. statement

Andrew Lees Trust

Since the start of the activities of the mining company QMM, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, in 2009, local fishermen have complained about water contamination, deforestation, loss of earnings and livelihood, and health issues which particularly affect children. On October 30, 2021, fishing communities from the villages bordering the Rio Tinto QMM mining site in Tolagnaro - Fort-Dolphin staged a protest to demand action and concrete compensation for the degradation of their living conditions caused by mining. Law enforcement officials attempted to disperse the protesters, injuring four people. Two spokespersons for the communities, the honorary president of the fishermen association, Eugène Chretien Ratovondrainy, and the vice-president Simon Bedango Razafinandriana, were also arrested and reportedly beaten in custody. They were provisionally released after protestors accepted to sign an agreement with the company.

QMM released a statement affirming their commitment to peaceful solutions, including grievance mechanisms and the establishment of an ad hoc committee on the issue.