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Forecasting the path towards a Net Positive Impact on biodiversity for Rio Tinto QMM
Helen Temple, Stuart Anstee, Jon Ekstrom, John D Pilgrim, J. Rabenantoandro, J-B. Ramanamanjato, F. Randriatafika , M. Vincelette - The Biodiversity Consultancy, Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is committed to achieving a Net Positive Impact (NPI) on biodiversity at sites where it operates, a strategy launched at the 2004 IUCN World Conservation Congress and reinforced at the 2008 Congress (Rio Tinto, 2008a). The Rio Tinto ilmenite mine in the Fort Dauphin region of southeastern Madagascar run by QIT Madagascar Minerals (Rio Tinto QMM) has been chosen as one of Rio Tintoís pilot sites to test the tools designed to achieve and quantify NPI on biodiversity. It consists of three sites to be mined sequentially (Mandena, Ste Luce and Petriky), a new deepwater port, and ancillary infrastructures such as roads, quarry, housing and industrial areas (Figure 1). Mining at the first of these three sites, Mandena, began in 2009. Rio Tinto QMM has made a formal commitment in its Biodiversity Action Plan to achieve NPI on biodiversity. The most important direct negative biodiversity impact resulting from Rio Tinto QMMís activities is the loss of littoral forest habitat at Mandena, Petriky and Ste Luce. Littoral forest is a rare and threatened habitat within Madagascaróc.90% of this habitat type has already been lost as a result of human activities (Consiglio et al., 2006). Approximately 1,665 ha (3.5% of Madagascarís remaining 47,900 ha of littoral forest) is expected to be lost to dredging, which entails not only clearance of vegetation but also removal of soil and its constituent seed bank. Littoral forests on the mining concession harbour many restricted-range species and species classified as Threatened by the IUCN Red List, including 42 plants and at least 14 invertebrate species that are found nowhere else in the world. The project will have substantial residual impacts on a number of these species.
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