Ambatovy is one of the most ambitious industrial projects in the history of Madagascar, Africa, and the Indian Ocean Region. It has an annual capacity of 60,000 metric tons of nickel (4% of total global production in 2011) and 5,600 metric tons of cobalt (projected at 7%) and will be operating for the next three decades.
The project can be classified as the world’s biggest lateritic nickel mine in 2013-2014. Ambatovy’s goal is to create lasting prosperity for all stakeholders and contribute significantly to sustainable development in Madagascar.
Ambatovy already contributes significantly to Madagascar’s gross domestic product and is expected to provide considerable revenue to the country in the long-term. As a result of the project, nickel will become Madagascar’s primary export ahead of more traditional products. Additionally, additional local benefits such as technology transfer, quality employment, and many economic returns. will be generated.
The current employment of the project is at around 9,000 (3,000 employees, 6,000 operations contractors) of which 84% are Malagasy. Ambatovy is committed to adding value within Madagascar to ensure that the Malagasy people profit from their resources and labour.
This large integrated production project is managed and operated by a joint venture of four corporations from three countries: two Canadian companies, one specializing in mining and the other in engineering, a South Korean state-owned resource development corporation, and Sumitomo Corporation. Toronto-based Sherritt International owns 40% of the Ambatovy project, Sumitomo and a consortium led by Korea Resources each have a 27,5% stake in the mine, and the project's engineering contractor, SNC-Lavalin, also has a 5% interest.
Sherritt International also has nickel, gas, oil and electricity generation assets in Cuba and coal operations in Canada.
According to the Sherritt’s CEO, Ian Delaney, the firm, which is the biggest foreign investor in Cuba, is looking to start-up a new big project outside of the Caribbean island nation for future growth.
"When it comes to assessing potential acquisitions, Sherritt will look at for good grades, in welcoming political jurisdictions, and with access to infrastructure," he said.
"But really, it's grade, grade, grade," he added.
Photo: Chambre des Mines Madagascar