World Environment Day was celebrated globally on Tuesday 05 June 2018, and Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen mine commemorated this day by opening the Sishen Education Centre at Tamaga Lodge, situated on the Sishen Nature Reserve, outside of Kathu in the Northern Cape.
The Northern Cape Provincial Government Gazette declared the Sishen mine owned farms Brookes and Bredenkamp as provincial nature reserves in April 2018.
The primary purpose of the reserve is to conserve a representative portion of the Kathu bushveld ecosystem to preserve nature for the benefit of the community.
The opening of the education centre on the reserve creates an awesome opportunity for Sishen to make a positive impact towards environmental education for the youth in the Northern Cape.
The Education centre will be run in partnership with Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA) - an organisation that currently runs environmental education centres (EECs) in a sustainable manner at different locations in South Africa.
Kumba Iron Ore’s CEO, Themba Mkhwanazi, highlighted that with the environmental education centre, the school learners and tertiary students can experience nature, and learn in an inspirational natural environment.
The centre will focus on supporting the learning of environmental sciences and mathematics, and in so doing, assist to raise regional pass rates by nurturing interest and understanding of the world we live in.
“We see this initiative as a long-term community investment project that will uplift the local communities surrounding the Kumba mines - even beyond the life of Sishen,” Mr Mkhwanazi said.
Having become a leading implementer of many environmental education initiatives, WESSA expressed their excitement to be able to start this journey with Sishen mine. WESSA’s Human Resources Manager, Sarah Alcock, represented the CEO Dr Thommie Burger at the launch.
“The common denominator that unites our two organisations is a genuine passion for environmental education and the impact that this has on people’s lives and the environments in which they live. WESSA has a long-term vision to work with Anglo American in the Northern Cape - to create and maintain a truly special partnership whereby all stakeholders can benefit and prosper.
“Together with the primary and secondary schools in this beautiful province and the youth in the neighbouring communities, the opening of this environmental education centre will have unquestionable impact,” stated Ms Alcock in her address.
Sishen mine is located in an area lush with camel thorn trees – a protected species. In fact, Kathu is home to the world’s third-largest camel thorn tree forest.
The biodiversity offset projects in this area are thus primarily concerned with camel thorn tree preservation. Kumba’s environmental strategy identifies how important nature conservation is to the company and by implementing initiatives such as the education centre, the company aims to preserve and protect the environment for future generations.
Kumba Iron Ore Sishen communication