Conservation First for Bushmanland

October 2006

After two years of careful planning and negotiation, Anglo Base Metals has strengthened its initial conservation commitment in South Africa, agreeing to manage almost 25,000 hectares of highly threatened, unique habitat as a conservation management area in the Succulent Karoo biodiversity hotspot.

With its high levels of plant endemism and significant zinc ore reserves, the land owned by Anglo around Black Mountain and the Gamsberg area in South Africa’s Bushmanland region is vital both for biodiversity and the mining industry.

Anglo, the Botanical Society of South Africa, and the Northern Cape Department of Tourism, Environment, and Conservation (DTEC) have been working to protect the area through a partnership known as the Bushmanland Conservation Initiative (BCI), which was established in 2004 with support from CEPF under its strategic direction of expanding protected area corridors through public-private-communal partnerships in the nine priority areas of the hotspot.

Anglo committed funds and personnel to maintain the area during BCI’s two-year initial phase while continuing negotiations to establish a regulatory framework for a formal protected area.

"The initiative is an excellent way for us to work together and forge a sustainable future for business, biodiversity, and local communities," said Torsten Halbich, Anglo’s environmental and sustainable development coordinator.

BCI creates innovative mechanisms for local landowners to develop stewardship of the land with a long-term aim of bringing 60,000 hectares of unique habitat under protection.

“Anglo is a key landowner in the area, and can act as a hub around which stewardship can expand,” said Mark Botha, director of the Conservation Unit at the Botanical Society. “It is important for us to engage the key industries in this impoverished part of the region and ensure that, wherever possible, an acceptable solution for maintaining internationally important biodiversity is found.”

Other important BCI partners include Conservation International’s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business and the WWF-South Africa Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust.

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