Madagascar protests halt activity at Chinese gold mine

2016-10-07 22:00


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Soamahamanina - A Chinese firm said on Friday it had suspended work at its gold mine in Madagascar after a series of protests by local residents.

"The company wants to pull out so that calm and security can return to the town of Soamahamanina," said Stella Andriamamonjy, the spokesperson for the firm, Jiuxing Mines, which operates the gold mine in the town to the west of the capital.

She stressed that, "given the investments already made," the halt was a temporary "sacrifice" to appease local sentiments.

On Friday, an AFP journalist saw that the company's excavators and trucks had been removed from the site.

The mine was officially opened in May and employs 11 Madagascan and 20 Chinese workers full time.

Jiuxing Mines has a 40-year permit to mine gold at the site.

Since June, locals have held protests every Thursday, claiming that the mine has ruined their land and calling for the Chinese company to leave.

In late September, protesters clashed with police.

"We hope the state will suggest solutions so we can find common ground with the local population. We hope to be able to start afresh and correct the errors of the past," said Andriamamonjy.

"We will do our best to set up local projects - because that is what the people want -- before really embarking on mining proper," she added.

One of the conditions of Jiuxing Mines' licence was that it build roads, electrify the town, renovate one health centre and build another one.

Read more on:    madagascar  |  southern africa

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