In 2014, Ambatovy assisted in the destruction of two ammonia tanks, each containing 12 tonnes of liquid ammonia (NH3), abandoned for 30 years at the site of the former Zeren fertilizer company, in the middle of the town of Toamasina, Madagascar. The tanks were severely weathered; the level of corrosion was such that a failure or leak of a valve could have resulted in a catastrophic event, with potential to cause thousands of deaths in an area of 700,000 inhabitants. When Ambatovy took over the project, the tanks were completely exposed, with children regularly playing in close proximity.
Local and national authorities, including local police, health authorities and fire fighters, as well as private industries, were closely involved. All activities were conducted under the aegis of the Ministry of Industry with the Industrial Risk Committee responsible for overall project management. Under its Social Investment Fund, a $25 million fund created to support social and infrastructure projects in the areas in which it operates, Ambatovy provided its expertise in logistical, financial, and technical aspects of the operation, from organization to implementation. A specialized contractor, Seal Tight, was identified and brought in to secure the tanks allowing for Ambatovy to continue with the destruction of the ammonia supply.
Ambatovy also worked with local authorities to raise awareness among the 4,000 families living nearby. Radio, newspaper and door-to-door campaigns helped keep the public informed about the operation in real time, providing health and safety messages, and avoiding panic. The operation was conducted successfully and without incident. And now, the kids are back in the field playing football once again.