The ultimate Client is Rio Tinto Plc, with QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) the contracting party. QMM is formed of Quebec Iron & Titanium of Canada and Madagascar Minerals. Madagascar has some of the richest mineral sands deposits in the world, and QMM has secured the rights to a number of these.
The project comprises dredge mining, floating concentrator, and a land-based minerals separation plant to extract titanium minerals, predominantly ilmenite and other valuable heavy minerals, from sand dunes. The ilmenite is shipped in bulk to QIT in Canada for further processing into titanium chloride slag for sale mostly to the paint industry and pigment industry for use as a white finish in paints, plastics, paper, and dyes.
The deposit is found in a remote and depressed region with very basic infrastructure to support the export of fish, rice, and sisal products, and the small eco-tourist market. The region is environmentally sensitive. The World Bank, which funded a portion of the port, required first world standards for the project. Madagascar has limited capacity for a project of this nature, and most of the framework for commercial business, taxation and customs had to be developed.