Concerns were raised at the Rio Tinto AGM in 2017 about the breach of an environmental buffer zone by Rio Tinto’s QMM mine operating in the Anosy region, southern Madagascar. The Trust engaged specialists to undertake independent studies of the buffer breach and its potential impacts on the surrounding environment, where local people depend on the natural resources for their survival.
The Emerman and Swanson reports
Research studies commissioned by the Trust and the ensuing reports by hydrologist Dr Seven Emerman, of Malach Consulting, and radioactivity specialist Dr Stella Swanson, of Swanson Environmental Strategies, have enabled robust scrutiny of how Rio Tinto/QMM’s has exceeded its permitted activity limit at the Mandena mine site and its tailings breached an environmental buffer zone and entered into a local lake. They have also raised questions over potential contamination of lakes and waterways adjacent to the mine where local people fish and draw their drinking water.
INDEPEDENT WATER STUDIES:
INDEPEDENT RADIOACTIVITY REVIEW 2019:
SWANSON FULL TECHNICAL REPORT ENGLISH
(December 2019 edition, revised)
ERRATA SHEET 2019
(for March 2019 edition of Swanson Review)
INDEPENDENT WATER STUDIES 2019
INDEPENDENT BUFFER EVALUATION 2018:
After two years of the Trust's persistent enquiry, Rio Tinto admitted QMM's breach of the buffer zone, by as much as 90_m in places.
The company has consequently reversed its plan to advance a reduced 50m buffer along the estuary side of the Mandena site, and instead will respect the required 80_m statutory buffer zone.
The findings of the Swanson Independent radioactivity review have precipitated a series of commitments by Rio Tinto, e.g. for additional monitoring of water.
Additional recommendations included in the radioactivity review, such as the provision of alternative sources of safe drinking water for mine-affected communities, are still in discussion with the company.Read more about the issues here
Our ThanksThe Trust is enormously grateful to Dr Steven Emerman and to Dr Stella Swanson for their tireless commitment to delivering the reports and for all the accompanying dialogue, process and technical exchange over the last two years. Also, to all the individuals and organisations who have participated in this process by providing advice, financial assistance, legal and technical inputs, and moral support throughout the two years of this advocacy campaign. All are testimony to the prevailing solidarity for the people of southern Madagascar.