Existing EIA licence
The company’s key commitment from the EIA is to address any potential impacts on the environment from the Ranobe project. Environmental management plans are being implemented prior to construction to ensure such impacts are managed and mitigated. In addition, one of the other major commitments as part of the EIA licence is that Toliara Sands is to create a Community Trust Fund to ensure positive social and economic change in areas affected by the project. As such, Toliara Sands is to contribute US$0.5 million to US$1 million (MGA 1.5 billion to MGA 3 billion) per year to the fund during the operational phase, in various social/community projects outside of the mine site. This fund will be managed by Toliara Sands in collaboration with community representatives to ensure that the selected projects/initiatives will maximise benefits for the local communities.
EIA being updated
The current EIA has been updated via an EIA addendum as Toliara Sands made the decision in late 2016 to increase the scale of the project (by 50% from 8 Mtpa mining of ore to 12 Mtpa) to improve the economics of the project, in part due to the marked decline in product prices since the previous feasibility and EIA were completed. Associated with this the company also undertook an updated feasibility study which was completed in June 2017 by Hatch Engineers, South Africa. The current EIA Addendum was undertaken by EOH CES consultants – who did the original study, and was completed in July 2017. The EIA Addendum was submitted to ONE during August 2017 and is currently going through the approval process.
With the increase in project scale, a key area of investigation for the EIA Addendum was the increased use of water. An updated hydro -geology report was undertaken by Prof Rakotondrainibe to assess the impacts of the increased water usage. The conclusion of this report was that the higher volume of water utilized by the Ranobe project (sourced via boreholes from the Eocene limestone aquifer at Manombo, some 60 metres below the surface) would have no negative impact on the aquifer. This report was submitted to ANDEA as part of the application for an updated Water Permit for the project and a new permit was granted to Toliara Sands by ANDEA in July 2017.
EMP’S being completed
As part of Toliara Sands existing EIA licence, a number of Environmental Management Plans (EMP’s) must be submitted to ONE for approval prior to construction taking place. There are 21 EMP’s in total, and despite construction being just over a year away,Toliara Sands has almost completed these plans and expect to submit these to ONE for approval prior to the end of 2017 – well in advance of the requirement.
The nursery program mentioned above is the first step in meeting the requirements of the rehabilitation and biodiversity offset agreed as part of the existing EIA for the project. Prior to the construction phase of the project an overall project offset agreement will be put in place along with the associated EMPs. Toliara Sands will participate in a committee that will manage the offset area for preservation identified by the Ministry of Environment. The committee will also include key stakeholders such as local NGOs, Government Ministries, and representatives from the local community. All of Toliara Sands environmental work, including the EMPs and biodiversity offset is being undertaken in line with both Malagasy Law and the standards required by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) guidelines.
Toliara Sands has a proven track record of successful environmental rehabilitation. Through various trial mining campaigns spanning some 9 years during the feasibility investigations of the project, the company has rehabilitated disturbed areas such that it is not possible to tell mining actually took place. The following photographs show the before and after scenes that indicate how successful rehabilitation work at Ranobe has been over many years.
Rehabilitation of Trial Mining Pit
Baseline Environmental Monitoring
As part of the existing EIA licence requirements, Toliara Sands is undertaking an extensive program of baseline environmental monitoring, to cover a 12 month period prior to construction to provide baseline information. This will start in November/December 2017. Areas to be covered with the baseline studies include:
- Marine and fisheries
- Surface and ground water
- Carbon Stock and CHG
- Noise and Air Quality
In addition, on the social-economic side, studies will be undertaken and baselines established for Community Health, Security, Migration and HIV/Aids.
Once construction starts, and during mining, there will be ongoing environmental monitoring that will employ some 150 people for this important task.
With the development of the Ranobe project into a world class mineral sands project, Toliara Sands will have a significant impact on the social and economic development of the local communes, the town of Toliara, and the region in general.
The company is committed to ensure positive social and economic change in areas affected by the project. Our aim is to achieve social upliftment by working with the communities and the authorities to maximise benefits at both the local and national level. In doing so, Toliara Sands is committed to operating our business responsibly and with respect for the health and safety our of employees, and the well being of the communities associated with the Ranobe project.
Toliara Sands is committed to excellence in corporate governance, which we believe is essential for the long-term performance and sustainability of our company and the Ranobe project. The project will adhere to the IFC Performance Standards – the international benchmark for identifying and managing environmental and social risk. As such, Toliara Sands can avoid and mitigate adverse impacts, allowing business to be conducted in a sustainable manner. The company is active in applying the Equator Principles for upholding robust standards for social and community engagement.