Diamond mining company De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) received the biodiversity and social responsibility award at the Wildlife Ranching South Africa Awards, in Limpopo, last month, for its approach to ecological management.
The company received the accolade for its approach to ecological management at four private game reserves it manages in the Northern Cape and Limpopo.
Judges singled out DBCM’s “disciplined approach” as being “best-in-class in the industry” and referenced the success of its sustainable wildlife management practices and promotion of wildlife tourism.
The company has, since 1887, included conservation as part of its management objectives and also supports research in conservation.
DBCM’s ecology division, De Beers Wildlife, manages about 67 000 ha of land in the Kimberley area of the Northern Cape. Species located on De Beers conservancies include rhino, buffalo, sable, roan and tsessebe, in addition to the habitat-specific endemic species.
In the early 1990s, the company acquired a further 32 000 ha, consisting of a cluster of 22 cattle farms near Mapungubwe, in Limpopo. This added a number of large free-ranging species under De Beers’ protection, including rhino, elephant, crocodile and hippo.
The company also leases about 44 000 ha of land to South African National Parks in support of the national park management organisation’s initiatives.
De Beers was one of the first breeders of disease-free buffalo in South Africa and runs conservation projects, which safeguard more than 35 species on its sites that are classed as either endangered, threatened or protected, and host a viable population of sable, roan and tsessebe.
The primary objective of the De Beers conservation projects is to protect these animals by breeding enough of them to establish free-ranging herds on its properties and support other conservation projects in South Africa.
The company’s conservation practices start with effective soil and veld management, requiring adaptive management practices to counter the risks of natural disasters. Effective soil and veld management provides the base for effective consumptive use, based on the pillars of harvesting and capture, in conjunction with various aspects of tourism to secure sustainability.
“As a company that mines nature’s treasures, we take great pride in the social and environmental contribution we make in the areas where we operate,” says DBCM ecologies and properties senior manager Piet Oosthuizen.