Working in the Northern Cape’s highly sensitive Succulent Karoo Biome, Vedanta Zinc International (VZI) prioritised biodiversity and environmental safeguards during the licencing process for their flagship Gamsberg Project.

The Succulent Karoo Biome is unique, even for South Africa, renowned as we are for our floral diversity. The biome is home to at least 6,000 species of plants that have evolved over millennia to survive the desert’s aridity, many of them rare and, until our environmentalists started on the area, some of which had been previously unrecorded.

The Bushmanland Centre of Endemism is smaller but nevertheless hosts 397 unique succulents, among them 16 that are endemic and four that are restricted to a small space. VZI was faced with a major challenge of how to develop the Gamsberg Project both without damaging the fragile site and in a way that would ensure the area can be restored when mining ends.

Mining [photo]