The Andrew Lees Trust logo Map of Africa highlighting Madagascar

Social and Environmental Projects
in Madagascar

Andrew Lees
ANDREW LEES (1949-1994)

Andrew Lees (1949 - 1994) was a scientist, conservationist and one of the world’s top environmentalists who became Director of Campaigns at Friends of the Earth. He successfully led a number of high profile international campaigns and went to Madagascar in December 1994 to research a proposed Rio Tinto ilmenite mine that threatened to eradicate unique littoral forests in the south east of the island. He died whilst filming in the forest of Petriky.

See the film "My Madagascar" about Andrew's field mission in 1994

The Trust was set up in his name in 1995.

Andrew believed passionately in empowering people to find their own solutions - whether it be for environmental, social or personal development. The main remit of the Andrew Lees Trust reflects that larger purpose and the example of Andrew"s inspirational work with local communities.

Read the Andrew Lees Biography (PDF 243 Kb)



As part of its ethical and social responsibilities, and in honouring Andrew's legacy, The Andrew Lees Trust (ALT) has endeavoured to maintain a focus on, and draw attention to social and environmental challenges brought about by the Rio Tinto mining project, which became operational in 2005. In particular it has sought to amplify the voices of local communities in south-eastern Madagascar faced with losses to their lands, food security and traditional ways of life.

In this work, the Trust has collaborated with community representatives and international NGOs and researchers to collect testimonies, help publish and disseminate reports, assist legal representation of mine affected communities, participate in shareholder action, present information at public meetings and talks, and lobby the company directly for improved communications and compensation practices.

The Trust adopts an ethical stance to the Rio Tinto mining project in Madagascar;

read our statement here (PDF 186 Kb)

Current Action:

The Andrew Lees Trust has undertaken to investigate QMM's illegal violation of an environmental buffer zone that is meant to protect waterways from their mining operation. The investigation follows questions raised in 2017 by the Director of The Andrew Lees Trust, first in an article in The Ecologist and subsequently at the Rio Tinto AGM.

Studies undertaken by The Trust's expert in hydrology and mining, Dr. Steven Emerman, has confirmed the violation of the buffer zone by QMM.  The violation is of concern because it compromises the protection of Lakes Besaroy and Ambavarano in the estuary where local people fish, gather reeds and other water products vital for their food security and livelihoods.

Read the Article in The Ecologist here

Read the Reports  

Main Report English version:
Evaluation of a Buffer Zone at an Ilmenite Mine operated by Rio Tinto on the Shores of Lakes Besaroy and Ambavarano, Madagascar. Emerman, S., 2018

Rapport principal version Francais:
Évaluation d'une zone tampon dans une mine d'ilménite exploitée par Rio Tinto sur les rives des lacs Besaroy et Ambavarano, Madagascar. Emerman, S., 2018.

Additional study English version:
Risk Assessment for Loss of Radionuclides from Mining Basins operated by Rio Tinto on the Shores of Lakes Besaroy and Ambavarano, Madagascar.Emerman, S., 2018.

Étude supplémentaire version Francais:
Évaluation des risques de perte de radionucléides des bassins miniers exploités par Rio Tinto sur les rives des lacs Besaroy et Ambavarano, à Madagascar.Emerman, S., 2018.


Previous Action:

On the negative impacts of Biodiversity Offsetting on local communities 'New Frontiers, New Tricks' at Friends of the Earth, 8th April 2017, See:

See also the ALT Blog page


Articles /Links l

Voices of Change - Testimonies from Anosy: