Home News GAF AG performs land cover analysis of mines in Madagascar

GAF AG performs land cover analysis of mines in Madagascar

Madagascar: GAF AG completed Environmental Compliance Monitoring assignment for the Ambatovy Nickel Mine Project in Madagascar under contract with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and with assistance from LuxSpace.

Ambatovy in Madagascar is one of the largest mining and processing projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. GAF AG performed a land cover analysis using recent and historic satellite data. The focus of GAF´s intervention was to evaluate prevailing forest change between 2006 and 2011 in the Ambatovy Project region and at target conservation sites. Analogue and digital land cover and land cover change maps were produced for the mine site, the pipeline corridor and the forest conservation areas. This information was then utilised to identify forest change, quantify the amount of forest loss, specify the land use classes to which forest was transformed and report on the success of conservation efforts. Data collected on-site were used for training and verification purposes.

The mine is located 80 km east of Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo at the southern end of the eastern rainforest corridor, an area of humid forest with unique flora and fauna. In order to preserve the biodiversity of this unique environment, the Ambatovy Project developed a comprehensive biodiversity mitigation and conservation plan. This includes the establishment of on-site and off-site conservation areas or ‘offsets’, thereby ensuring that impacts of the mining are minimised. Residual losses are offset resulting in no net loss and preferably a net gain in biodiversity over the operating time of the project.

“The investigation based on earth observation data is a really valuable asset for our work”, said Andrew Cooke, environmental manager of the Ambatovy Project. “The data provide objective and reproducible information and enable a quantification of the results of conservation efforts. In particular for our off-site offset area, which is difficult to access, Earth observation data are the only means available for demonstrating achievement of the required biodiversity gains.”

Source: GAF AG