The Andrew Lees Trust (ALT UK) is committed to serve civil society in Madagascar, and to support marginalised and disenfranchised communities in the rural south. It is especially concerned about communities’ rights and entitlements to a safe environment, food security, and access to information that strengthens and protects local natural resource management, livelihoods and wellbeing.
In this, and as part of Andrew's legacy, the Trust has endeavoured to create awareness and to amplify the voice of local communities in southeast Madagascar faced with social and environmental challenges brought about by Rio Tinto’s QMM ilmenite mine in the Anosy region. The Trust collaborates with community representatives, international NGOs, legal advisers, researchers and media to research the social and environmental issues and campaign for human rights, improved transparency and greater accountability around the QMM operations.
CURRENT ACTION: WATER QUALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Since 2017, the Trust has initiated inquiry and commissioned international specialists to undertake studies and carry out analysis on QMM’s breach of an environmental zone, local water quality, radioactivity around the mine, and related QMM mine tailings management. It has actively engaged the mining company around the findings of its reports and related issues, including human rights violations around QMM grievance and compensation processes.
Working with Publish What You Pay Madagascar (PWYP MG), the Trust is advocating safe drinking water access for mine affected communities, improved management of QMM’s tailings dam and mine tailings, respect for human rights and adherence to international standards in QMM operations and local relations.
The company has admitted that “the discharges from our (QMM) operation have the potential to impact receiving water quality and, therefore the water quality risk is assessed as high” (Rio Tinto, Annual Report 2022)
ALT UK and PWYP MG have determined that independent audits are now necessary in order to provide the transparency and accountability required to resolve the current QMM challenges and meet international standards.
Gratitude is extended for all the support and collaboration we receive, including from/with the Oak Foundation, London Mining Network, Earthworks, Friends of the Earth (EWNI), Publish What You Pay UK, The Passionists, Rainforest Rescue. Special thanks go to all our international experts and advisers who generously continue to provide pro bono analysis and recommendations. In particular, to Dr Swanson and Dr Emerman, whose work has been crucial to the campaign.