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Opportunity for research - 25 January 2008

Diamond-miner De Beers, a key player in the marine diamond industry of the West Coast of Southern Africa, recognised that its participation in the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) programme would be important for the outcome of the programme’s mining-related projects.

The BCLME programme is a multinational cross-sectoral initiative by Angola, Namibia and South Africa to manage the living marine resources of the BCLME in an integrated and sustainable manner, and to protect the marine environment.

De Beers has been involved in the BCLME since its inception, in the form of the two marine com- panies of De Beers Marine, based in South Africa, and De Beers Marine Namibia, through the mining and petroleum, and marine pollution and water quality task groups of the BCLME.

Contributions to the BCLME programme have included the provision of data on marine impact research and monitoring, as well as information on marine mining practices, socioeconomic impacts, and the environmental management measures that have been implemented by De Beers in its marine diamond concessions.

Data gathering on mining impacts conducted in the region includes surveys of seabed, communities’ underwater video footage, kelp-bed aerial surveys, rock lobster studies and sedimentary modelling.

De Beers Marine environmental manager Lesley Roos says the aims of the BCLME include implementing programmes that assist in understanding the marine environment better. This, she says, is imperative as it is promises potential for future research that will be conducted to understand the ecology of the marine environment.

“In our areas of operation, there is little in the way of baseline data on the biodiversity of the seabed. We see opportunity in the BCLME programme for more research to be conducted, which will provide better insight into the ecosystem and enhance the research being conducted into the biodiversity impacts caused by mining,” she adds.

Read the reminder of this article by Brindaveni Naidoo on Mining Weekly