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Though possessing notable mineral resources, Madagascar is far from being a predominant mining economy. Historically, its mining, even industrial, economy has been built, designed and even directed mainly by the land economy. “Uninformed, reduced to the role of a supplier of raw materials, this economy lived at the will of the external purchasers and did not have sufficient stability to enable a coherent set of safe and regular activities” (Jean Albert Zafimahova And Max Ridoux, Madagascar Bulletin, December 1961).
Both their real values ​​and the identity of their buyers and their final destinations are little known. This is one of the reasons that prospec- tors and miners are generally interested only in materials with a high value per unit weight to ensure a significant gain after an exceptional “happy blow”.
For their part, large mining companies for whom stable outlets are not guaranteed, probably also interested in the design of immediate gain and quickly discouraged by the vagaries of the sector, do not realize a rational planning of production nor an adequate policy Of storage. Apart from the producers of mica, they also adopt an “individualistic policy by which the neighbor ignores the neighbor and the so-called secrets are jealously guarded; Such an attitude only made buyers who could very easily bring competition between local farmers and pose the threat of global competition.
Finally, no serious view on the extension of mining products exists, in particular, to seek the optimal incorporation of labor.
With the introduction of the framework law, the authorities are more interested in mining. Thus strict enforcement, improvement and intensification of existing production are advocated. “These measures were mainly aimed at raising awareness among mining prospectors and miners of the importance and real nature of mining. Each mining title must therefore be worked, the individual productions must be regrouped in order to be standardized and “rationally” intensified.
At the same time, the records of known deposits, such as Sakoa coal, Sambaina oil shale, Antanifotsy lignite and Vatozoro nickel are reopened on the occasion of visits by foreign technicians. “In a word, the studies were sinned by old optics; Some results were distorted by the old vision of problems that no longer fit the current state of affairs. “
Nevertheless, this mining policy still does not resolve the difficulty of technical information that is lacking to the authorities. In 1958, the ratio of mining production to national income remained less than 1 per cent; The output per capita is 0.65 US dollar or 5.76 US dollars per km². This is mainly due to the fact that only high-value substances are exploited, the producers of which, however, have only a small influence on world mining production.
In addition to the known and traditional products such as gold (which has been declining for many years), graphite and mica, new products have been added after the Second World War, notably industrial beryl (from 27 tons in 1947 to 635 000 tons in 1960), piezoelectric quartz (from 3.5 tons in 1949 to 18.8 tons in 1954 and 3.9 tons in 1960).
The uranothorianite was discovered in 1953 and is rapidly evolving. In 1960, it occupied a leading position in the scale of values ​​of productions and
Malagasy mining operations. Monazite, of which large deposits (black sands of the beaches) were found in 1954, is the subject of industrial trials. But the narrowness of the outlets (in 1960) makes it impossible to envisage, at least the immediate, the rapid extension of this exploitation. Three products (uranothorianite, graphite and mica) account for 90% of mining exports (about 30% each). The industrial beryl occupies the first place among the other minerals exported.