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Conservation: The Diamond Route, Limpopo

 

Forevermark diamonds are stunning examples of the beauty, diversity and brilliance of nature. That is why, as part of the De Beers Group, we are committed to ensuring that we protect the land from which we source our diamonds. For every hectare of land the De Beers Group uses for mining, it dedicates six hectares to nature conservation. This land, devoted to conservation, now spans 164,000 hectares and is home to several indigenous and endangered species.

Within these thriving ecosystems, we are working to conserve, protect and restore high levels of biodiversity in the areas around our diamond mines. We are proud of our award-winning initiative, The Diamond Route, a series of seven beautiful conservation areas around the De Beers Group’s traditional areas of operation. These conservation areas host a diverse world of plants and animals and welcome and support students, scientists and academics with an interest in the natural world.

The Diamond Route also supports local economic development through tourism and education, and promotes biodiversity through active conservation and vital scientific research at our numerous research centers.

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Piet Oosthuizen is based in South Africa and is the Senior Manager for Ecology at the De Beers Group.

Piet’s passion for the natural world was evident right from the start. He joined the De Beers Group in 1989 at Finsch Mine, where he got involved with the local conservation club in his spare time. After a career spent managing finances for the group, in 2010, he got an opportunity to take on some ecological responsibilities alongside his financial ones. Since 2013, he has had responsibility for all of the De Beers Group properties in the Kimberley area, including the ecological properties.

The objective of our ecology business, and Piet’s work, is to be a self-sustainable division, delivering excellence in biodiversity, cultural and heritage conservation.

The company has been working on this challenge for decades. For example, since 1991, the De Beers Group has bred disease-free buffalo – without the foot-and-mouth disease, corridor disease, brucellosis, and TB which have plagued the animal.

Funding has also been invested in scarce species like Sable and Roan Antelope. We want to avoid the extinction of these species, and repopulate areas where they naturally appeared. These initiatives have seen the numbers of these animals growing from the brink of extinction to a current estimated 3,500 Roan Antelopes and more than 22,000 Sables in South Africa.

Forevermark and the De Beers Group also facilitates research programmes on our properties. A recent study was dedicated to the smallest African cat, the endangered Black-footed cat.

From a career in finance to a career protecting flora and fauna, Piet says it is a privilege to be entrusted with such huge conservation areas. He calls his job “a passion,” and links the natural and unique characteristics of diamonds to the manifold characteristics you find in game animals. He says he sees both as miracles of nature. “There are so many similarities between diamonds and nature. As each diamond has its unique characteristics, all animals are also unique.”


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