DNI Metals Digs Itself in Deeper in Madagascar

September 25, 2017 | By admin | Filed in: Madagascar.

As we wrote in our September 12, 2017 news release, we have
received a series of worrying allegations regarding DNI Metals
Inc.’s Vohitsara graphite project in Madagascar, which are
backed up by solid documentation. We had previously
written to the company
and got messages denying
all the allegations, but as yet, we have received no
specific response. Although DNI has begun to address
these issues, serious reports about unfair compensation,

harassment
, and entering and destroying lands without landowners’
consent
still stand to be resolved.


DNI claims
“there are no disputes between DNI and
resident/affected landowners in respect of its operations in
Madagascar.” However, sources indicate that there have been a
series of meetings between DNI and Vohitsara farmers to settle
grievances that DNI claims do not exist. We invite DNI to
publicly confirm or deny the existence of these meetings and
subsequent agreements that were reached. The following is a
summary of the meetings that have been held between Vohitsara
farmers and DNI in relation to the farmers’ complaints:

  1. On July 7, a meeting was held in Vohitsara between the
    local community and DNI representatives, including DNI Mada
    (Madagascar) country director, Steven Goertz. Local farmers
    presented their grievances and Mr. Goertz apologized and
    stated that the issues would be addressed.

  2. On July 12, a follow-up meeting was held in Antananarivo,
    where Mr. Goertz and community members drafted and signed
    an agreement (attached),
    which included commitments to conduct a damage assessment
    of affected landowners’ land, to compensate landowners
    appropriately, and to cease mining-related operations until
    proper compensation was undertaken.

  3. On July 14, two DNI representatives delivered the results
    from the previous meeting to the community. They reiterated
    their apologies for entering and damaging the farmers’ land
    without having received individual written consent.

  4. A series of subsequent meetings on July 16-18,  were
    held between individual landowners and DNI to complete the
    agreed upon damage assessment. However, damage assessment
    was halted after two days, reportedly under orders from DNI
    administration.

  5. Most recently, a meeting was held on September 13, 2017
    with DNI administrator and account manager Njara Raoily,
    local authority officials, the Inspector of Atsinanana
    Region, the District Chief of Brickaville, a journalist,
    and local community members. Key results of this meeting
    included DNI’s agreement to settle its conflict with the
    local community, to compensate all affected landowners, and
    to renegotiate compensation with those that have already
    been paid unfairly. Another meeting to finalize the
    monetary value of the compensation is scheduled for
    September 26, 2017 with the presence of everyone who
    attended the September 13 meeting.

The promise of compensation has been a long, drawn-out process
and only began in July, although negotiations should have been
discussed and carried through prior to commencing mining
operations in April. DNI has stated that a protocol is in place
where “appropriate compensation” is negotiated with affected
landowners. According to an article released by DNI,
drilling operations began in April 2017
, but to date, some

landowners remain uncompensated
. Landowners only began to
receive compensation at the end of July after making demands
for it, which ensued in the meetings summarized above.

Additionally,
DNI’s latest press release
also indicates that it “proudly
works with communities… and in conjunction with local
landowners,” conducted an inventory of crops prior to
exploration activities in Vohitsara. Farmers have reported that
these inventories were conducted without their knowledge or
participation. Local community reports also indicate that DNI’s
exploration activities severely damaged the community’s soccer
field. DNI’s claims of
upgrading the soccer field
in the community seem to be an
effort to rehabilitate something that their activities
destroyed in the first place.

It seems reasonable to call on DNI to follow its professed
commitment to build a strong partnership with the community and
to ensure transparency in the various complaints and grievances
that have been expressed by the Vohitsara people.


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