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The Ambatovy mining project exploits one of the world’s largest lateritic nickel mines with an annual production capacity of 60,000 tons of nickel and 5,300 tons of cobalt. It involves the development of an open pit mine, an ore slurry preparation plant and a 220 km-long pipeline to move it to the coast, a pressure acid leach processing plant, a metals refinery, and all other necessary infrastructure including water, power and steam generation, acid production, tailings disposal and port facilities.
To partially finance the project, the Bank approved a loan of US $150 million to the project’s promoters . Valued at US $8 billion, Ambatovy is the single largest capital project in the history of Madagascar.
Ambatovy accounts for approximately 32% of Madagascar’s foreign exchange earnings, a substantial contribution to the economy.
Since operations began on the site, the Ambatovy project created more than 18,000 jobs at the peak of the construction phase. It currently employs 3,273 people (2,852 men, 421 women) for operations at the mine site and processing plant and employs 5,000 subcontractors in the procurement of 40% of its purchases. Of current Ambatovy employees, 90% are Malagasy nationals.
Infrastructure in the region has also benefited from the Ambatovy project. Large scale infrastructure work undertaken and completed during construction includes the rehabilitation of the National road between Ambatovy and the Port of Toamasina, and the construction of a railway line – in partnership with public transport utility MADARAIL – from the plant to the seaport to transport bulk import and export materials.
The mining company also set up a US $25-million Social Investment Fund to finance 17 projects including the rehabilitation of two generators for Toamasina, roads to technical schools, the development of an industrial protection unit, fire trucks for local communities, and decommissioning an abandoned ammonia tank in Toamasina. In addition, new market stalls valued at about US $6 million were built in Toamasina and in the surrounding cities of Moramanga, Brickaville.