Save Nosy Be archipelagos and Ampasindava Bay
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The peninsula of Ampasindava, in the North West of Madagascar, boasts an exceptional biodiversity with a very high rate of endemism. Its mountains, forests, vast mangroves and sharp coastline constitute the fragile habitat of many animal and plant species only found within Madagascar.
On land, a multitude of birds cohabit with reptiles, amphibians and several lemur species including the Lepilemur mittermeieri, which is endemic to this area. On the sea side, some 15 species of marine mammals are found in its waters, including the rare Omura’s whale, recently discovered, as well as whale sharks and a multitude of reef and coral fish.
This land with lush green landscapes between the sea and the mountains has more than 33,000 inhabitants, communities that depend mainly on fishing and agriculture, thanks to export crops such as vanilla, cocoa or coffee. Besides, the peninsula is located at the gates of the archipelago of Nosy Be, the capital of tourism in Madagascar.
This unique ecosystem is now threatened !
A mining project threatens to destroy the Ampasindava peninsula forever. The Tantalum Rare Earth Madagascar (TREM) company obtained in 2009 from the Malagasy government a concession of 300 km2, to extract minerals forming part of the rare earths. Without real public consultation and in total opacity, TREM obtained a questionable exploitation license from the High Authority of Transition Malgache
This particular industry, which can be considered as the most polluting in the world due to the technology used (on-site leaching), requires chemicals such as sodium chloride, ammonium sulphate or oxalic acid, as well as enormous quantities of water, causing considerable toxic and radioactive discharges on land, groundwater, seawater? and surrounding populations (acids, Thorium, etc.). For the production of a ton of rare earths, 7 tons of ammonium sulphate and 1.5 tons of oxalic acid are necessary!
The production of 1 ton of rare earth also generates 1000 tons of water contaminated with ammonium sulphate and heavy metals and 2,000 tons of toxic waste. With the TREM planning to export 10,000 tons of rare earths per year for at least 50 years, such a project would produce 500 million tons of contaminated water and 1 billion tons of toxic waste during this time period.
The topography of the peninsula is marked by mountainous massifs from which the rivers flow. These rivers, which eventually meet the Mozambique Channel, will carry all the waters discharged by this type of exploitation, causing widespread maritime pollution across the whole zone.
Furthermore, the North of Madagascar is regularly subject to heavy rain during the hurricane season - the average precipitation level exceeds 2000 mm per year. Heavy rainfall could also lead to the overflow of storage sites, which must be strong enough to withstand torrential rains or severe weather.
The question of sludge storage must also be considered. If the storage sites are not leak-tight, permanent leakage of acidic waters would lead to changes in acidity (pH) and siltation of neighboring rivers, which in turn flow into Ampasindava Bay, generating Irreversible consequences on an exceptional marine ecosystem.
Faced with this devastating and definitive statement for the region and its inhabitants, and knowing that in no way will the Malagasy people enjoy the economic benefits of such a project, it is essential that this project never sees the light of day!
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