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




2022 figures

Fort Dauphin, Anosy

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

QMM includes the deep-water Port d’Ehoala, where the raw material is shipped to the Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium Quebec Operations plant in Canada and processed into titanium dioxide.

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

QMM setting ambitious goals towards carbon neutrality

In December 2021, along with our partner, CrossBoundary Energy, we announced the launch of the construction of the renewable energy plant that will provide 20 MW to our QMM operations. The plant will consist of solar panels and wind turbines. The solar plant is nearing completion, and the wind power facility will be completed in early 2024. Upon completion, the project will provide 60% of QMM's annual power needs and supply clean power to Fort Dauphin and surrounding communities in Madagascar through JIRAMA, the national electricity company.

The renewable energy project is one of the steps QMM is taking to be carbon neutral. It is part of a broader program to reduce our environmental footprint in Madagascar, focused on emissions reduction, waste and water management, carbon sequestration, ecological restoration and reforestation.

Protecting the environment

We are committed to protecting the plants and animals of the Anosy region, near our QMM operations in Madagascar.

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, rehabilitate and offset.

  • Avoid
  • Minimise
  • Restore
  • Rehabilitate
  • Offset

We have avoided mining part of the deposit (8%), which is located in biodiverse areas of coastal forest. This area has also been integrated into the existing Protected Areas of Mandena, Petriky and Sainte Luce.

We have also established several partnerships with Asity (a Malagasy NGO), Birdlife International, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) to support the implementation of our Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP).

In 2003, we established an independent committee of biodiversity experts to provide external perspectives and advice on implementing our biodiversity programme, including monitoring, establishing the biodiversity monograph and assisting with other technical issues including ecological restoration. The committee concluded its work in 2015.

To build on this model, we signed an agreement with IUCN to serve as our facilitator and coordinator of the renewed Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management Committee (BNRMC) which met for the first time in early 2018. Committee members include experts in biodiversity, community management of natural resources and stakeholder engagement.

For further information on this Committee, its members and recommendations, visit IUCN’s website.

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Compliance with 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, 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.

Maintaining access to wetland resources

At QMM, wetlands play a vital role as a habitat for birds, fish and plants and in the culture and way of life for the Antanosy people living in Anosy. The wetlands are a source of material for their day-to-day life, including Mahampy reeds that are used for mats and basket weaving and the Ravinala tree which is used for building houses.

Restoring the wetlands after mining is therefore an important part of QMM’s approach to operating the business, and we are working with communities to improve natural resource management and contribute to the conservation of sensitive ecosystems.  For example, we work with communities to ensure that restored reed beds are harvested sustainably so that the new wetlands remain intact and help protect the community against flooding from cyclones.

Restoring wetlands is no easy feat. They need a consistent water source, which in turn requires the right topography. Crocodiles in the region also present safety considerations for the QMM team as well as the local community. Overcoming these challenges calls for an innovative and collaborative approach. For example, the team designed rafts made of bamboo to populate the centre of the water body with wetlands species typical of the region. Doing so eliminates the need to use a boat, making the practice safer.

Environment aspects

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

    In response to CSOs concerns, in 2019, QMM commissioned JBS&G to conduct an independent study on radiation around its mine over a period of four-season cycles. The analysis received on the four cycles showed no measurable impacts to human beings or the environment via vectors such as water, food, dust or soil.

    Further samples were taken in October 2022 to strengthen the study. The full study is expected to be completed towards mid-2023, after cross-examination by the regulator.

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

    QMM has made significant progress on strengthening its water management, with the support of its Water Technical Panel. In 2022, QMM commissioned a water treatment plant that, combined with a polishing pond, allowed us to release water that is compliant with pH and Al regulatory limits. The plant, which will be expanded, has been approved by the regulator. The final expanded solution will undergo Environment Impact Assessment in accordance with international standards.

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

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

    Following three cyclones and extreme rain fall 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 link between our mine activities and the observations of dead fish made by community members.

    In line with our commitment to impeccable Environmental, Social and Governance credentials, a further study, led by South African environmental research centre, Water Research Group (WRG), was commissioned by QMM. This study, which investigated the cause of the fish death phenomena, analysed a series of fish, water and sediments samples collected from the same location as the deaths as well as other critical monitoring points.

    The Study will be completed in the coming months, and, from the preliminary results, the Water Research Group concludes that:

    • Only a small number of exceedances were found in water samples collected at the regulated discharge point (site level). QMM is currently investing in an expanded water treatment plant to mitigate this
    • There were no exceedances of metals concentration thresholds found near the location where the fish deaths occurred
    • No toxicity thresholds in exceedance were found in sediments

    With these preliminary findings, the WRG report concludes that the 2022 fish deaths are unlikely to be caused by any of the metals concentrations in fish.

  • 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?

    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 multiple studies that assess QMM’s potential impact on people and the environment, so far showing no concerns. These studies include:

    • A 2021 QMM Water Discharge Monitoring Data report
    • Summary reports of the 2022 minor water incidents investigations
    • A radiation study by expert JBS&G, that will be finalised in the summer of 2023
    • In 2022, a fish study by the Water Research Group that will be finalised in the coming months. Preliminary results from the study conclude that the 2022 fish deaths are unlikely to have been caused by metal concentration in the fish
  • 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.

    However, we believe that access to fresh water is a fundamental right. To support this, in partnership with the Government of Madagascar and the World Bank, we have significantly contributed to the improvement of water facilities for the people of Fort Dauphin since 2006. For instance:

    • New potable water infrastructure: Andrakaraka, and three other stations being built
    • Rehabilitation of Fort Dauphin’s water treatment plant (JIRAMA) and its piping system
    • Rehabilitation of water caption zone
    • Improvement of water facilities for the people of Fort Dauphin and communities around the mine since 2006
  • Does QMM fail to comply with GISTM tailing standard?

    Rio Tinto is committed to implementing the GISTM for its existing and future facilities. As per GISTM guidance, a review by an independent design engineer established that QMM’s facilities were classified as neither ‘extreme’ nor ‘very high’ in terms of consequence potential. As such, full compliance for QMM is targeted for August 2025.

    Currently, QMM manages process water and facilities under the Rio Tinto internal Standards for Management of Tailings and Water Storage Facilities and Slope Geotechnical Hazards, and we recognise that compliance with GISTM (which work is underway to achieve) will take QMM a step further.

Community aspects

  • Was the grievance process undertaken in 2022 not compliant with international standards and violated of 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 including the government, community representatives and QMM, leading up to the agreement signed by all parties in May 2022.

    The negotiation phase, involving the complainants and QMM, was carried out according to a Charter signed by QMM and representatives of the communities. It took place in the presence of a mediator and two independent observers from the community, who were chosen and agreed by the parties, in order to ensure the objectivity, transparency and neutrality of the dialogue. Throughout the process, QMM made resources available to all parties to fund external experts. Compensation payments for eligible complainants were completed in March 2023.

    As the process has only recently concluded, we will now take stock, including lessons learned to help inform next steps.

Land restoration at QMM

QMM downloads

QMM brochure
QMM Brochure
1.77 MB
QMM Brochure [FR]
1.76 MB
QMM Brochure (Summary)
1.6 MB
QMM Brochure (Summary) [FR]
1.57 MB
Brochure d'Ehoala [FR]
1.36 MB
QMM HSEC policy
203 KB
QMM HSEC Policy [FR]
206 KB
QMM HSEC Policy [MG]
231 KB
QMM IIAP Executive Summary 2018
223 KB
QMM IIAP Executive Summary 2017
62 KB
QMM IIAP Dialogue Process
116 KB
QMM BNRM committee recommendations
QMM BNRM Committee Recommendations 2022
130 KB
QMM BNRM Committee Recommendations 2019
565 KB
QMM BNRM Committee Recommendations 2019 [FR]
192 KB
QMM BNRM Committee Recommendations 2018
366 KB
QMM panel report
QMM Panel Report 2019
201 KB
QMM Panel Report 2019 [FR]
466 KB
QMM Panel Report 2018
301 KB
QMM Panel Report 2017
596 KB
QMM Panel Report 2016
197 KB
QMM Panel Report 2016 [FR]
4.31 MB
QMM Panel Report 2012
454 KB
QMM Panel Report 2012 [FR]
847 KB
QMM Panel Report 2011
735 KB
QMM Panel Report 2011 [FR]
752 KB
QMM Panel Report 2010
221 KB
QMM Panel Report 2010 [FR]
308 KB
QMM water discharge monitoring data
QMM Water Discharge Monitoring Data
2.72 MB
QMM Water Discharge Monitoring Data [FR]
2.71 MB
QMM general information
QMM General Purchase Terms
152 KB
QMM Convention Detablissement [FR]
1.72 MB
QMM Forum [FR]
744 KB
QMM JBS&G Mandena Community Radiation Study
QMM JBS&G Mandena Radiation Study - Summary
112 KB
QMM JBS&G Mandena Radiation Study
226.47 MB

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.

For example, QMM provides funding for equipment and marketing as well as business development training to a local honey co-operative. This support helps producers to harvest and sell more than 4,800 litres of honey from 500 beehives in the remote region of Ampasy Nahampoana.

QMM also works with the Centre d’Affaires Régional Anosy (CARA). Established in 2012 to support local businesses, CARA is a partnership between QMM, the Integrated Pole of Growth project, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Fort Dauphin and the Association for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship. Its work includes providing finance, marketing and training to micro, small and medium-sized businesses and has, since inception, trained more than 4,500 people and supported around 200 businesses.

Cultural heritage

We work with the Malagasy people and with archaeologists to survey and map sites and artefacts of cultural significance. Malagasy culture assigns special status to sites including:

  • Kibory - Tombs which Malagasy people consider the place where ancestors live
  • Orimbato - Stone slabs near the paths beside a tomb
  • Fisorogna - Places of sacrifice
  • Doany - Places of worship

Land agreements

QMM was the first mining company in Madagascar to recognise the land rights of traditional land users. In 2016, we signed an agreement with the government of Madagascar and the Mandena communities on which the mining concession sits, which set up a framework to provide a legal basis for the joint rights of each party within the mining concession.

As part of its mining license agreement, QMM committed to a biodiversity conservation programme that included the identification and management of protected areas and offset areas. These areas are designed to ensure gains in natural forest cover, preserve priority species and ensure that the loss of biodiversity in mining areas is compensated for.

QMM works in partnership with organisations to manage these sites, for example with Asity, a Malagasy NGO, Birdlife International and Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG), who have a long history of conservation work in Madagascar. 

Supporting communities in Madagascar

Turning a building into a treatment centre

At QMM, our operation in the Anosy region of Madagascar, we have upgraded a building, turning it into a dedicated treatment centre that can receive up to 108 patients, and treat 60 people – including up to 32 needing intensive care. We have also donated an ambulance and two 4x4 vehicles, so that medical teams can more easily reach people where and when they need them, especially in more remote areas.

Supporting communities in Madagascar

Sourcing locally

Supporting the sustainable development of the local economy through partnering with local businesses is a key part of the procurement approach at QMM. The procurement procedures ensure local suppliers are considered at every stage of the process. This approach is outlined in the RTP Africa Preferential Procurement Policy document.


Response to Investor briefing 2023 by ALT-UK and PWYP Madagascar

Response to Investor Briefing 2023 by ALT-UK and PWYP Madagascar
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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

QMM contacts

Water at QMM


QIT Madagascar Minerals

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

Land restoration at QMM


QIT Madagascar Minerals

614 Fort-Dauphin