IUCN collaborates with private sector partner Black Mountain Mining, Subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Plc, to develop a Sustainable Biodiversity Management System in the Namaqualand Region
The Namaqualand in South Africa contains ecologically sensitive ecosystems with critical value for biodiversity conservation, local livelihoods, eco-tourism and agriculture. Researchers highlight that Namaqualand plant and faunal diversity is particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts and climate change and therefore needs to be at the forefront of the development agenda in the region.
Following the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, the South African Department of Minerals & Energy (DME) initiated a Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development in The Mining Sector. The framework envisioned that by 2010 the South African minerals and petroleum sector would be able to contribute optimally to sustainable development through sustainable and responsible mining. To achieve this vision; Black Mountain Mining (BMM) Operations, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Plc, has partnered with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to develop a Sustainable Biodiversity Management System at the proposed Gamsberg zinc mining site in the Northern Cape Province to enhance and diversify rural livelihoods within the Gamsberg ecosystem and surrounding regions (i.e. Namaqualand) through support to green enterprise development and innovative biodiversity and livelihood options and technologies.
Under the aegis of this partnership an Independent Review Panel (IRP) with leading experts in the field of environment, biodiversity and environmental law has been set up to provide advice on programmes that will avoid, mitigate or offset biodiversity impacts during operations and at mine closure, to ensure rehabilitation planning and implementation at Gamsberg and to review and provide technical advice on BMM’s Biodiversity Management System.
A Biodiversity and Livelihoods Coordination Committee (BLCC) has been set up with former judge A. Gildenhuys as an independent chairperson, to oversee and advise on BMM’s corporate social responsibility programmes in Namaqualand. This will be carried out in collaboration with conservation and development Non-Governmental Organizations (“NGOs”) and community based organisations (“CBOs”) operating within the region.