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Offsets Programme Targets Biodiversity Hotspot in Madagascar
|Services||Biological Sciences, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment, Sustainability|
Ambatovy, a large-tonnage nickel and cobalt mining operation in Madagascar, is taking care to ensure that the project's environmental strategy produces positive conservation outcomes.
Sherritt International and its partners, the developers of the project, are committed to designing and sustaining a Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP). The plan aims to achieve no net loss on biodiversity and minimal impacts in the flora, fauna and aquatic resources in the region.
As part of the creation of a multi-faceted offsets program, the project proponents are working with the government of Madagascar to designate an off-site area of endangered tropical forest for long-term protection of humid forest and associated species. The developers are also arranging for conservation of other areas around the mine footprint to help offset the impacts and establish a nearby forest corridor to help increase habitat connectivity.
Golder has been actively involved in the project over the last several years, first in conducting the initial environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA), which involved baseline data collection, impact analyses and reporting for physical, biological and social disciplines.
We then helped to design and provide technical assistance with the biodiversity planning. The BMP is seen as a critical next step to build upon the ESIA. The plan includes a detailed radio collaring exercise to track movement of lemurs (primates endemic to Madagascar) during mine and pipeline construction, as an aid to improving mitigation.
These efforts to realise a net gain in biodiversity conservation through both onsite mitigation and offsite biodiversity offsets have helped the Ambatovy project become a leading case study and one of several pilot projects for the Business and Biodiversity Offset Programme, a partnership between companies, governments and conservation experts that sets best practice for biodiversity offsets.