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The Diamond Route | Forevermark | Forevermark

Nature in focus: The Diamond Route

Forevermark diamonds are an expression of love not only for each other, but for the natural world of which they are born.  As part of the De Beers Group of Companies, we are proud to be associated with the Diamond Route, one of Africa’s most extensive and important conservation networks. 

This award-winning initiative covers seven conservation sites, many of which are situated on property owned by the De Beers Group of Companies. These conservation areas host a rich variety of wildlife, as well as scientific research programs in partnership with international universities, welcoming students, scientists and academics with an interest in the natural world.

The Diamond Route is about more than conservation alone. It supports local economic development through tourism and education, and promotes biodiversity through active conservation and vital scientific research. An annual Diamond Route Research Conference showcases the scientific research carried out on Diamond Route properties. In 2015, 180 delegates attended the conference from a wide range of national and international institutions.

Education and healthcare are priorities for all local communities surrounding the mining areas. They can access services such as schools and hospitals. For example, in Botswana, Debswana operates hospitals at Orapa and Jwaneng Mines, which serve as district hospitals, and provide essential public medical services to mine employees and the surrounding communities for free. Of 186,000 patient visits to these hospitals in 2015, nearly 88,000 or 47% were members of the community, providing an invaluable service. 

INSIDE THE LIMPOPO NATURE RESERVE

Piet Oosthuizen is The De Beers Group of Companies’ Senior Manager in charge of conservation across more than 240,00 acres [express in hectares for Europe] around Kimberley and the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve.

Originally a finance specialist, Piet has been involved with wildlife conservation for the last quarter of a century, helping to bring scarce species like sable and roan antelope back to their native habitats. Thanks to the work of Piet and his team, the population of roans across De Beers Consolidated Mines’ South African properties has risen from almost none to a healthy 3,500; and the population of sable to an equally healthy 22,000. 

Although ecology only became Piet’s official role in 2010, he considers it his life’s calling: “If you see ecology as a job, then you’re in the wrong job. For me, it’s not a job, but a privilege. Ecology is actually my life; I don’t need something else to keep me energised and passionate.”

Piet oversees a breeding programme for disease-free buffalo for use in other parts of the country, where disease is often rife, and works with colleagues and students to conduct scientific research; one recent study looked at the critically endangered black-footed cat.

Piet admires the natural variations in diamonds and draws parallels with the unique characteristics found in game animals. “Both are miracles of nature,” he says, “and both show infinite variety. Just as each diamond has its unique characteristics, each zebra has its own pattern of stripes and each leopard its own pattern of spots."

Watch the Film

See inside the Limpopo Nature Reserve.

Protecting Nature's Treasures

Forevermark, as part of The De Beers Group of Companies, is committed to the preservation and protection of habitats, their species and the wider natural world.