QMM from the air

QIT Madagascar Minerals

Our operation near Fort Dauphin in the Anosy region of south-eastern Madagascar produces ilmenite, which is a major source of titanium dioxide

Ilmenite, Zirsill, Monazite

Product

80%

Ownership

Fort Dauphin, Anosy

QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM), near Fort Dauphin in the Anosy region of south-eastern Madagascar, produces ilmenite – a major source of titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is predominantly used as a white pigment in products such as paints and paper.

QMM also produces zirsill, used to make ceramic tiles and electronics, and monazite, a rare earth mineral used in renewable energy technologies, such as high-power permanent magnets for wind turbines and electric vehicles.

QMM includes the deep-water Port d’Ehoala, where we ship raw material to the Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium (RTIT) Quebec Operations plant in Canada for processing into titanium dioxide.

QMM is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (80%) and the government of Madagascar (20%).

In 2023, we renewed our partnership with the government of Madagascar, extending our relationship and with it, our opportunity to sustainably operate and work alongside the people of Madagascar. Read more in French and English.

2,000 employees

(98% Malagasy)

$1B+

in Madagascar since 2005, including $400M invested in the construction of shared infrastructure through public-private partnerships

$100M+

in tax contribution since 2009

$700M+

in local purchases, through more than 200 local companies

80,000

Fort Dauphin residences provided with access to electricity as part of the JIRAMA partnership

A sustainable mining vision

From the beginning of our operations in 2008, our work has centred around environmental conservation, sustainability and longevity, with a community-first focus. 

We aim to leave a sustainable legacy built on three pillars: decarbonisation, protecting our environment, and community development.

Sustainability is deeply embedded in the way we operate. We’re reducing our environmental footprint in Madagascar by reducing our emissions, responsibly managing waste and water, and restoring the local environment. 

1. Renewable energy

QMM currently provides access to subsidised electricity to nearly 80,000 residents in Fort Dauphin through our partnership with JIRAMA, the national electricity company. 

We have set an ambitious goal to achieve carbon neutrality. To achieve it, in 2021 we partnered with CrossBoundary Energy, a recognised independent power producer, who will build and operate a solar and wind energy plant that will provide at least 20 megawatts (MW) to our operations. Once operational, it will provide 60% of QMM’s power and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 26,000 tonnes.

In 2023, we successfully commissioned our 8MW solar plant – a major step towards reducing the environmental footprint of our operation. A 6MW extension of this solar plant has been approved.

Madagascar’s first 16MW wind turbine facility is under construction, scheduled for completion by the end of 2024.

2. Protecting the environment

We operate in a highly valued ecosystem in Madagascar, and are committed to protecting the plants and animals of the Anosy region for future generations.

We have environmental and social obligations to fulfil as part of our mining license and environmental permits. To meet these commitments and to minimise any potential environmental impacts, we use the mitigation hierarchy: avoid, minimise, restore and offset.

We are also focusing on nature-based solutions in Madagascar, as we believe in their potential to halt and reverse nature loss, support positive, sustainable change for communities and address climate change.

QMM biodiversity

Preserving Agnalazaha's biodiversity

In December 2023, we participated in the 20th Biodiversity Festival, organised by the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) in Mahabo, Farafangana, Atsimo Atsinanana region, under the theme "The Biodiversity of Agnalazaha, the cradle of ecotourism development in the Atsimo Atsinanana region." We’ve been working with MBG since 2013, and voluntarily fund the protected area of Agnalazaha to offset the impacts of QMM’s activities, following measures of avoidance, mitigation, rehabilitation, and ecological restoration.

Rainy Season Release Readiness program

As responsible stewards of the land, we know that the water we share with communities and ecosystems surrounding our operation is a precious resource, including lakes, streams, and groundwater aquifers. We carefully manage the quality and quantity of the water we use and return to the environment. This means balancing the needs of our operations with those of local communities and local ecosystems.

As part of our Rainy Season Release Readiness program, we’re working to improve water management activities on site at QMM, including our ability to measure more accurately and improve the quality of our process water through a dedicated water treatment plant. 

Learn more about our water management at QMM

Community radiation study

In 2023, we published the findings of a comprehensive independent community radiation study undertaken from 2019-2022 by Australian experts JBS&G. The study showed that local food sources, water, air and dust are safe from a radiological perspective.

Learn more about the JBS&G radiation study

GISTM 

In alignment with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM), Rio Tinto has disclosed detailed information on global tailings facilities rated Very High or Extreme under GISTM classifications. QMM facilities are managed under the same commitments, and are not classified as Very High or Extreme. QMM is scheduled to comply with GISTM by August 2025. 

Read more about tailings management

Mitigation

As part of QMM's mitigation activities, we have commenced reforestation and protection of primary forests. Since 2010, we have rehabilitated more than 691 hectares of forest within our mining lease, 2,136 hectares reforested outside the mining site, 100 hectares of mangroves planted in Petriky and 100 hectares of native species in the south of the Tsitongambarika protected zone. 

Over time, QMM has set up three IUCN Category V Protected Areas, 430 hectares in Mandena, 2,095 hectares in Ambatoatsinanana Sainte Luce and 300 hectares in Petriky. We are one of the first mining companies in the world to have set up a protected area within its mining perimeter.

Outside the three protected areas around QMM’s sites, we are funding the preservation of more than 6,000 hectares of conservation zones as biodiversity offsets:

  • Mahabo Analazaha (2,500 hectares), located 300km north of Fort Dauphin, in the Vangaindrano district and the Atsimo Atsinanana region, managed by Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) in collaboration with the Madagascar Foundation for Protected Areas and Biodiversity (FAPBM);
  • Bemangidy – Tsitongambarika which extends over 4,000 hectares, located 70km from Fort Dauphin, managed by Asity Madagascar (affiliated to Birdlife International).
QMM charcoal

Providing a renewable source of timber for charcoal

After 12 years of reforestation in the mining area of Mandena, we’ve dedicated a plot of rehabilitated land for charcoal production, helping to reduce illegal logging and pressure on surrounding forests, including protected areas. In July 2023, we started working with charcoal producers from the rural municipalities of Ampasy-Nahampoana and Mandromondromotra to encourage communities to take responsibility for helping to protect natural resources. A 3-month trial involving 50 households produced 2,200 bags of charcoal by mid-September 2023, with a noticeable decrease in theft and vandalism of wood in the rehabilitation area. The reforestation plots that have been dedicated to charcoal production will be regularly rehabilitated, providing a constant and controlled supply of wood for charcoal production for the communities.   

Nature solutions 

Our Nature Solutions team have been implementing pilot projects in the Anosy region, while completing restoration and REDD+ feasibility studies. These pilots focus on a variety of protection and restoration activities, as we believe nature-based solutions are much-needed tools to finance large-scale, long-term activities that bring urgent positive outcomes for people and climate, while preventing the deterioration of pristine environments and restoring the ecosystem services we all rely on.

3. Regional development 

We work hard to leave a lasting, positive legacy with communities surrounding our operations, supporting them to thrive and become more resilient over the long term. At QMM, we aim to be an active partner with local businesses and organisations to support economic and regional development. 

Connecting with communities at Christmas

Connecting with our communities at Christmas

During the 2023 Christmas period, we partnered with the Regional Directorate of Public Health and the Health District to run a mobile clinic campaign in the rural commune of Ampasy Nahampoana. Across 7 villages in the commune, 31 responders trained by health workers and community partners treated 2,501 patients. We’ll continue the program in the rural municipality of Mandromondromotra in 2024. We also brightened up the festive season by distributing sweets to 16 local schools in Mandena, creating a memorable festive atmosphere for thousands of students.

Business development

QMM has worked with local businesses so that they can become important employers in the region. We also supported the Business Centre for the Anosy Region (CARA) in training over 4,500 people and the creation of over 200 small businesses. 

Critical infrastructure

In 2023, Rio Tinto committed to assist the government of Madagascar in funding the 109km rehabilitation project of the National Road 13 (RN13), a critical mechanism to facilitate the movement of people and supplies. The government committed to invest US$12 million in this road project, and Rio Tinto will also contribute up to US$8 million according to agreed milestones.

Port of Ehoala

As part of our mining infrastructure and in collaboration with the government of Madagascar and World Bank, we have developed the Port of Ehoala - a public port where Anosy-region goods are exported and essential goods are imported, including emergency aid to fight drought and famine in Southern Madagascar. 

We’re also working with the Economic Development Board of Madagascar (EDBM), Agence Portuaire Maritime et Fluviale (APMF), Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and the Comité Consultatif des Usagers et Opérateurs du Port (CCUOP), to enhance the Port to not only support our business, but the region, with ship services, cargo services, dockside bunkering and welcoming cruise liners to boost Fort Dauphin’s economy. 

QMM port
Port of Ehoala

Rehabilitating rural roads 

Black spots on the 26-kilometere road connecting Manambaro to Sarisambo will soon be rehabilitated, though a partnership between QMM, the concerned municipalities, and the Integrated Growth Poles project (PIC). 

Rehabilitating the roads will improve safety and increase local trade. Most importantly, it will mean the municipalities are no longer isolated. 

QMM is assisting to provide financial contributions to the Manambaro and Sarisambo municipalities. A memorandum of understanding was signed in January 2024, with work scheduled to commence soon. 

 

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Managing vital water resources responsibly

In Madagascar, we operate in a highly sensitive area from a water and broader environmental perspective. Our water strategy aims to provide an integrated approach to managing QMM’s current and future water-related challenges and objectives, acknowledging that water is vital to our environment and access to clean water is a fundamental human right. 

Environment aspects

  • Does QMM activities generate radiation above World Health Organisation guidelines?

    No. To enhance transparency and address community concerns, QMM commissioned international environmental experts JBS&G Australia Pty Ltd (JBS&G) to complete a comprehensive independent community study of radiation at QMM. The study concluded in September 2023 that there is no need for heightened health concerns around local radiation levels. 

    The analysis received on the five cycles covering various seasons from November 2019 to October 2022 showed that local food sources, water, air and dust are safe from a radiological perspective.

    The study is one of the most comprehensive of its type ever undertaken and was commissioned as one of a number of steps QMM is taking to reinforce international best practices and standards in monitoring its environmental impacts, and the impacts on host communities.

  • Is QMM water management inadequate, which then leads to berm incidents and non-compliant water being released into the natural environment? 

    QMM’s water facilities meet the Rio Tinto internal Standards for Management of Tailings and Water Storage Facilities and Slope Geotechnical Hazards.

    The integrity of the berm system in place is continuously checked and improved where necessary. Work is underway for QMM to comply with the GISTM standard by August 2025. 

    In terms of non-compliant water, QMM has historically operated under a national decree exemption approved by the regulator that allowed the release of water into the receiving environment with a pH between 3.2 and 6. As of November 2020, the regulator required QMM to comply with the national decree for all surface water release, with a pH between 6 and 9. This triggered the need for QMM to install a water treatment plant to comply with the amended decree.  

    In 2022, QMM commissioned a pilot water treatment plant that, combined with a polishing pond, allows the release of water that is compliant with pH and aluminium regulatory limits. The pilot will be expanded to a full-scale plant with the capacity to treat at a rate up to 1,500 m³/hr of water in 2024.

  • In 2022, did QMM water released into the natural environment lead to fish deaths?

    Following three cyclones and heavy rainfall in Fort Dauphin in early 2022, a controlled water release, authorised by the Malagasy regulator (ANDEA and Office National de l’Environnement), was carried out at QMM to mitigate against a possible breach of our dam infrastructure and an uncontrolled incident that could have significantly impacted the environment surrounding our operation. This release, whilst it minimised environmental risks, raised concerns from our host community members who witnessed fish deaths in the bodies of water surrounding the mine. 

    Following these concerns, QMM, together with the regulator, undertook a series of water sample analyses, in addition to ongoing release water monitoring. These showed no significant change to the water quality in the receiving natural environment, and no conclusive link between our mine activities and the observed dead fish by community members.  

    QMM commissioned a further study, led by the Water Research Group (WRG), an independent South African environmental research centre. The study looked at samples of fish, water and sediments collected at the same locations as the observed fish deaths, as well as other critical monitoring points. WRG concludes that the 2022 fish deaths are unlikely to be caused by any of the metals concentrations in fish. However, based on the available data, WRG were not able to identify the cause of the fish deaths.

    WRG explains that fish deaths are usually determined to be the result of multiple factors and recommends additional monitoring and assessment be conducted in order to better understand aquatic life in the environment surrounding QMM’s operations.   

    QMM has commissioned independent expert WSP Global Inc. to undertake a comprehensive receiving environment assessment. This will involve monitoring and assessment over multiple cycles to help to better understand the aquatic life and the environment surrounding our operations, and support further strengthening of QMM’s water management. We commit to keeping our key stakeholders informed on progress of the receiving environment assessment.

  • Has QMM released water into the ocean in March 2023?

    No. Water released by QMM has always been from the pre-approved (by the regulator) discharge point, with no released water leading into the ocean.

  • Does QMM refuse to publish water data?

    No. QMM is under the obligation to publish a report to its regulator, the Office National de l’Environnement (ONE), the content of which is discussed annually with the government monitoring committee. The ONE organises public sessions on key findings and recommendations. 

    In addition, QMM has commissioned and published multiple studies that assess QMM’s potential impact on people and the environment, so far showing no concerns. These studies include the Water Report 2021-2023 and the previous Water Discharge Monitoring Data report (2015-2020).  

    Beyond our Water Reports, we understand that we need to share information transparently with host communities so that they are aware of and understand our water management strategy and approach. To this end, the QMM social engagement team is adopting a process of co-design whereby community members are involved in identifying the most effective tools and strategies for communicating and discussing information related to water. Giving the community ownership of this process is crucial for building trust around our water management process.

  • Is water in the communities not safe for drinking due to QMM’s water management?

    Upstream of the Mandena mine, surface water does not meet the criteria for potable water and therefore QMM’s water treatment system does not aim to produce potable water either. Instead it aims to achieve regulatory criteria, so that should QMM need to release site water into the natural environment, the waterways downstream from the mine are of the same standard as those upstream and therefore not negatively affected by mining activity.

    Putting this aside, we believe that access to safe and clean water is a fundamental human right. We are committed to playing our part in protecting water in and around our operations and helping host communities, including the people of Fort Dauphin, to have access to potable water.  

    Beginning in 2021, we have invested to help the communities in the communes of Ampasy Nahampoana, Mandromondromotra, Andrakaraka and Emanaka receive infrastructure to access potable water, with the construction of the potable water stations for Mandromondromotra and Ampasy Nahampoana to be completed soon. We continue to make this a community development priority. 

  • Does QMM fail to comply with GISTM tailing standard?

    In alignment with the Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (GISTM), Rio Tinto has disclosed detailed information on global tailings facilities rated Very High or Extreme under GISTM classifications, with the highest potential consequences in the unlikely event of a failure. 

    As QMM facilities, which are managed under the same commitments, are not classified as Very High or Extreme, they are scheduled to comply with GISTM by August 2025. 

Community aspects

  • Was the grievance process undertaken in 2022 not compliant with international standards and violated human rights?

    The community tensions in Fort Dauphin in early 2022 were an aspect of a very challenging situation that required a rapid response from all parties. In addition to short-term measures taken by QMM to respond to the fishing ban, including emergency food deliveries to over 7,000 affected households, a tripartite process was initiated between the government, QMM and community representatives and led to an agreed community grievance process in May 2022.

    A total of 8,778 claims were considered in the tripartite process, with 5,204 eligible individuals receiving compensation from QMM by March 2023. Claimants were organised in three main categories: fisherfolk, natural resource users and land claimants. Compensation was agreed with claimant representatives, following a negotiation process, and based on the cumulative impact of QMM's operations for each specific group deemed eligible since operations began. Land claimants were deemed not eligible and managed by a separate process between the land claimants and the authorities. Compensation payments for eligible complainants were completed in March 2023. 

    The process was voluntary and publicised within affected communities including on local radio. Negotiations took place with representatives of fisherfolk and natural resource users, in the presence of two observers and a jointly appointed mediator. The representatives of the various groups were to keep the communities informed of developments. Throughout the process, QMM made resources available to all parties to fund external experts. 

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QMM Communities

At QMM, partnership with the local community is important to us, and we aim to work in ways that deliver sustained value for both our business and our host communities.

QMM downloads

QMM JBS&G Mandena Community Radiation Study
QMM JBS&G Mandena Radiation Study - Summary
PDF
112 KB
QMM JBS&G Mandena Radiation Study
PDF
226.47 MB
QMM Water Reporting
QMM Water Report 2021-2023
PDF
9.27 MB
QMM Water Discharge Monitoring Data (2015-2020)
PDF
2.72 MB
QMM Water Discharge Monitoring Data (2015-2020) [FR]
PDF
2.71 MB
QMM HSEC Policy
QMM HSEC Policy
PDF
203 KB
QMM HSEC Policy [FR]
PDF
206 KB
QMM HSEC Policy [MG]
PDF
231 KB
QMM Statement on LUSUD Protests in 2023
QMM Statement on LUSUD Protests in 2023
PDF
120 KB
QMM BNRM Committee Recommendations
QMM BNRM Committee Recommendations 2022
PDF
130 KB
QMM BNRM Committee Recommendations 2019
PDF
565 KB
QMM BNRM Committee Recommendations 2019 [FR]
PDF
192 KB
QMM BNRM Committee Recommendations 2018
PDF
366 KB
QMM Renewed Agreement with the Government of Madagascar 2023
Renewed Agreement with the Government of Madagascar 2023
PDF
328 KB
Renewed Agreement with the Government of Madagascar 2023 [FR]
PDF
1.02 MB

Latest QMM releases

21 September 2023

Rio Tinto releases independent community radiation study of its QMM mineral sands site

FORT DAUPHIN, Madagascar -- International environmental experts, JBS&G Australia Pty Ltd (JBS&G), have completed a comprehensive independent community study of radiation at the Rio Tinto QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) mine in Fort Dauphin, Southern Madagascar, which concluded that there is no need for heightened health concerns around local radiation levels.The analysis received on the five

23 August 2023

Rio Tinto et le gouvernement de Madagascar concluent un accord soutenant l'exploitation à long terme de QMM

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar -- Rio Tinto et le gouvernement de Madagascar sont parvenus à un accord sur les futures dispositions fiscales pour QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) et ont renouvelé leur partenariat à long terme pour l'exploitation durable de la mine de QMM à Fort Dauphin, Madagascar.Le nouvel accord a été confirmé par la Haute Cour constitutionnelle de Madagascar le 8 août 2023 et signé par

23 August 2023

Rio Tinto and Government of Madagascar reach agreement supporting the long-term operation of QMM

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar -- Rio Tinto and the Government of Madagascar have reached agreement on the future fiscal arrangements for QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) and renewed their long-term partnership for the sustainable operation of the QMM mine in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar.The new agreement was confirmed by the High Constitutional Court of Madagascar on 8 August 2023 and signed by the parties on

Contact QMM

QIT Madagascar Minerals

Lot 35, 5e étage
Immeuble Ivandry Business Center
101 Antananarivo
Madagascar

QIT Madagascar Minerals

Mandena
614 Fort-Dauphin
Madagascar

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