MEDIA

Ambatovy provides update regarding sulphur dioxide release

Ambatovy is firmly dedicated to operating a sustainable mining operation that employs responsible and transparent business practices. In response to concerns raised about emissions from our plant in Toamasina in February, we would like to inform the general public about what took place and the actions we have since taken.

At approximately 3 p.m. on February 26, 2012, a single release of sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas occurred during a power outage upon start-up of our facility’s acid plant. The low-concentration emission covered an area outside the plant’s northern perimeter estimated at less than 0.3 square-kilometers in size.

There were no fatalities or permanent injuries to anyone stemming from this event.

In response to the release, Ambatovy’s Corporate Social Responsibility team visited the population in the affected area to assess the situation. Medical examinations of those living in the area were undertaken by physicians. They confirmed that the low-level exposure to sulphur dioxide did not cause lasting health effects. Some people in the area at the time of the release reported mild eye irritation and some respiratory difficulties. They were all attended to by doctors at Ambatovy’s health clinic and they were all found to be in good health.

An Ambatovy representative was also sent to assess the impact on vegetation. Even at low concentrations over short durations, sulphur dioxide can cause vegetation to turn brown. Shortly after the assessment, Ambatovy made good will compensation payments to community members claiming damage to their property as a result of the February incident. Vegetation in the affected area has since returned to normal.

This was a single, isolated event. Ambatovy has since put in place additional safety measures to prevent future occurrences.

Ambatovy is also working with local officials through our Regional Committee for Industrial Risk Management. Ambatovy created this committee to communicate and coordinate effectively with key local stakeholders, including government and public health officials.

Ambatovy would like to reassure the public about our committment to the health and safety of our employees and the communities that neighbour our facilities. We are coordinating our notification and response systems with local communities, government and medical officials to enhance our detection, prevention and response capabilities.

Ambatovy understands the concerns of the general public on health and safety matters. We pledge our commitment to operate in a sustainable manner that employs responsible and transparent business practices.