Kiruben Naicker
Department of Environmental Affairs



The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, launched the Mining and Biodiversity Guideline: Mainstreaming biodiversity into the mining sector, in Kirstenbosch, Cape Town, on the 22 May 2013 on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity. South Africa is globally renowned as a megadiverse country harbouring an exceptional number of species of various fauna and flora. South Africa’s mining industry also plays a vital role in the growth and development of the country and its economy and tends to have an impact on the country’s biodiversity in ways that are not sustainable. The Constitution of South Africa recognises the vital role of both ecological and mineral resources in a development path and that these are not necessarily opposing objectives. As such this guideline has been developed to facilitate the sustainable development of South Africa’s mineral resources in a manner that enables regulators, industry and practitioners to minimise the impact of mining on the country’s biodiversity and ecosystem services. Six principles resonate throughout the guideline. These include: Apply the law; Use the best available biodiversity information; Engage stakeholders thoroughly; Use best practice in environmental impact assessments to identify, assess and evaluate impacts on biodiversity;Apply the mitigation hierarchy when planning any mining-related activities;Develop robust environmental management plans; and Ensure effective implementation of environmental management plans, including adaptive management. The guideline through its implementation is intended to foster a strong relationship between biodiversity and mining which will eventually translate into best practice within the mining sector. This publication demonstrates strong political willthat recognises that some places are sacrosanct – they have such high conservation value that there is collective commitment not to disturb them.


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