The social and environmental harms caused by Rio Tinto’s subsidiary in Madagascar continue to spark protests and strikes. The protesters demand reparations and are resisting evictions, the destruction of sacred forests and exclusion from ancestral lands. In January 2013, protesters hold QMM workers hostage on the mining site. When Rio Tinto threatens to exit the country, the Malagasy military intervenes, firing tear gas as well as handcuffing, beating and dragging protesters.
Ever since mining started at the Mandena site in 2009, there has been a succession of protests and general strikes. Hundreds of Malagasy people from around the region have been involved in resisting evictions and involuntary relocation; seeking compensation and reparations for lost lands and livelihoods; protesting environmental despoliation; opposing the destruction of sacred forests and unauthorized removal of ancestral tombs; mobilizing against exclusion from ancestral forestlands and denouncing loss of forest access.
The QMM mine and its entire history of polluting the environment, harming people’s health and livelihoods, and suppressing protests is noticeably absent from Rio Tinto’s own timeline.
Voices of Change report by Andrew Lees Trust
Martial Mining report by LMN