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Youth to benefit from nature reserve centre

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The purpose of the reserve is to conserve a representative portion of the Kathu Bushveld ecosystem to preserve nature for the benefit of the community.

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THE SISHEN Education Centre at Tamaga Lodge, situated on the Sishen Nature Reserve, was opened recently on World Environment Day.

The Northern Cape Provincial Government declared the farms Brookes and Bredenkamp, which are owned by Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen mine, 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.

According to the mine, the opening of the education centre on the reserve creates an 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 (EEC) in a sustainable manner at different locations in South Africa.

Kumba Iron Ore CEO, Themba Mkhwanaz, pointed out at the opening that the environmental education centre allowed school pupils and tertiary students the opportunity to experience nature and learn in an inspirational natural environment.

“The centre will focus on supporting the learning of environmental sciences and maths and in so doing, assist to raise regional pass rates through 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,” he stated.

WESSA human resources manager, Sarah Alcock, who represented the CEO Dr Thommie Burger at the launch, stated that both Kumba mines and WESSA had a passion for environmental education and the impact this has on people’s lives and the environments in which they live.

“The opening of this Environmental Education Centre will have an unquestionable impact on primary and secondary schools in this Province, as well as the youth in the neighbouring communities,” Alcock stated in her address.

Sishen mine is located in an area lush with camel thorn trees, which is a protected species, and Kathu is home to 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 Environment 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.