Madagascar scraps export regulation which angered miners

Wed Mar 2, 2016 4:29am EST
 
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ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Madagascar has scrapped a new $100 levy on the export of shipping containers after miners said it was hurting mining projects at a time when the industry is struggling with falling commodity prices.

The government said it was cancelling its Advance Cargo Declaration (ACD) regulations but would continue work to improve security at the Indian Ocean island's ports.

"The ACD pre-registrations are no longer required for exporters and importers. They therefore pay no more fees," Ulrich Andriantiana, the minister of transport, tourism and meteorology, told reporters late on Tuesday.

Last month, Ambatovy, a $7 billion mining project 40 percent owned and operated by Sherritt International, said the ACD regulations would force it to close operations.

Ambatovy, Madagascar's biggest foreign direct investment and one of the world's largest nickel and cobalt plants, said that due to enforcement of the ACD regulation, it had been unable to ship spare parts and raw materials, limiting its cash flow.

Madagascar has struggled to attract foreign investors in recent years, with many citing bureaucracy for their reluctance to invest in the mineral-rich nation.

Madagascar's mining sector has also been hurt by falling commodity prices.

(This version of the story was refiled to add dropped word in first paragraph)

(Reporting by Lova Rabary; writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by George Obulutsa and Jason Neely)

 
A general view shows the cityscape in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo December 19, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya