With strong roots in Madagascar, Meralt is the result of decades of small-scale family activity in the local mining sector, specialising in a variety of minerals and fossils, such as Quartz, Labradorite, Ammonites and more. The challenges faced by the various actors in the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) industry, has led to the need for reforms, innovation and the inclusive development of the community.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE LOCAL INDUSTRY
The following graph, obtained from a research conducted by the World Bank (n.d.), in collaboration with CSRM at the University of Queensland, suggests that as of 2013, minerals account for about 30% of exports from Madagascar, which is expected to rise to 54% by 2025. Such potential for growth, therefore, should not come at the expense of the environment, the ASM industry and welfare of the community.
In a country of 25 million inhabitants, it is estimated that ASM is the second largest employment provider in rural areas, after agriculture, employing approximately between 500,000 to 1,000,000 full time and seasonal miners. In spite of this considerably large number of artisanal miners, production isn't significant and mainly focuses on the mining of precious stones and gold. In addition, ASM is often associated with socio-economic problems such as child labour, limited education & facilities, illicit trade and very little revenues used to finance local infrastructure.
In theory, in what is supposed to contribute to the local livelihood and economy has had more negative consequences due to the informal nature of the industry, the domination of political and economic elites, poor governance and environmental impact. Nevertheless, artisanal and small-scale mining is a promising industry, supported by the World Bank and the Malagasy government, and as such, Meralt seeks to be an agent of positive development for the country, community and international market through better business practice.
HOW WE DIFFER
We believe there is much left to do in the artisan and small-scale mining industry in Madagascar. Meralt is just one in few actors, aiming to improve this industry with a view to implement better regulations, develop the infrastructure and help these communities attain better living standards.
On a broader scale, Meralt is essentially the face of the "unseen" Madagascar, and our aim is to bring out the best of the country to the international market, without compromising on our values. We hope to set a new standard of doing business the right way and to certainly become a great, not good, example of achieving inclusive development through minerals.
We pledge that 10% of our annual profits will be contributed to the development of artisan and small-scale communities in Madagascar, by providing for their basic necessities, improving living & working conditions and giving these communities access to better infrastructure such as education and healthcare.
As much as bureaucracy can sometimes be a hindrance to development, we take great care to abide by the rules and regulations. Meralt pushes for the formalisation of ASM and as such we aim to ensure that the whole process, from sourcing to sales, conforms to local and international regulations and passes through legal entities; e.g. from the legal and licensed miners, exporters to us.
We firmly oppose and do not partake in any forms of illicit activities, which is defined by the OECD (2013) as:
“It contributes to conflict and serious abuses associated with the extraction, transport, or trade of minerals...”
In which context, conflicts and serious abuses are:
- Any forms of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;
- Any forms of forced or compulsory labour, which means work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of penalty and for which said person has not offered himself voluntarily;
- The worst forms of child labour;
- Other gross human rights violations and abuses such as widespread sexual violence; or
- War crimes or other serious violations of international humanitarian law, crimes against humanity or genocide
All of our minerals are carefully-sourced, documented and certified by the Ministry of Mines in Madagascar and authorised for export. Having said that, this allows for greater transparency from the supply side and also builds trust with our stakeholders as we aim to take a responsible approach to doing business.
We don't just buy and sell. Our aim is to promote the inclusive development of communities in these mining regions, by contributing to better infrastructure and giving them access to healthcare, education and training. Your purchases and donations help us achieve that goal, as well as reduce the poverty and illiteracy rate in these areas.
Looking after the Environment
Mining activities are often associated with negative environmental impact. We believe that every one in the value chain plays an important role to ensure that the environment is being looked after. We are consistently looking for innovative ways to rehabilitate land that has been damaged by mining, while also contributing, where we can, to projects that aim to develop sustainable mining practices.
Meralt offers bespoke services for sourcing unique mineral specimens from Madagascar. We facilitate the process from lead generation, mineral acquisition, certification and government authorisation, to export of minerals from Madagascar.
We work directly with local stakeholders and businesses to ensure that your items are processed in time, conforming to regulations and securely packaged for transit.
From the mines, local market to your doorstep, we save you the associated costs, time and hassle, giving you peace of mind and assurance. If you're interested in our procurement services, please get in touch with us here.