Protecting vultures as part of our biodiversity plan

At Gem Diamonds, we are acutely aware of our potential impact on the environment, and continuously assess where our mining operations may affect the biodiversity of the region where we operate. The area surrounding our Letšeng mine borders the Maluti-Drakensberg Trans-frontier Project, a high-priority conservation area and buffer zone of the critically endangered Bearded Vulture. During 2018, we began monitoring the activity of the Bearded Vulture and Cape Vulture nests near the mine footprint.

From the data collected to date, it appears that the Cape Vulture is faring best, with one colony indicating a three-fold increase in active nests and the roost at one of the nests showing the first signs of breeding activity. The survey confirmed, however, that the Bearded Vulture is under pressure, and active conservation programmes such as feeding projects should be initiated to increase the number of breeding pairs.

Through collaboration with conservation teams, we have drafted a proposal to initiate a trial feeding programme for the Bearded Vultures that is planned for 2019. Continued monitoring will continue during this time to assess the impact of our interventions.

All Bearded Vulture nests (= BV, green pins) that were surveyed in 2018 near mine.
Cape Vulture roosts and nests simultaneously monitored are also shown (= CV, red dots).