Tshipi é Ntle Manganese Mining (PTY) Ltd., a company in which Safika has a major stake has won a conservation award for its work in protecting endangered secretarybirds. Tshipi is creating a new manganese mine in a remote corner of the Northern Cape.
Tshipi won the Northern Cape Raptor Conservation Award for 2012 after it partnered with the Endangered Wildlife Trust to monitor the life and habits of a fledgling secretarybird. The secretarybird was fitted with a specially designed radio harness that allows scientists to monitor its movements as it travels around the Northern Cape.
“The award is given by the Northern Cape Raptor Conservation Forum to an organisation or person who has made an outstanding contribution to raptor conservation in the Northern Cape, said Beryl Wilson, a zoologist at the McGregor Museum in Kimberley, who is working on the project. “The award salutes the commitment to the environment shown by Tshipi é Ntle Manganese Mining. The work Tshipi has done sets a fine example to other mining companies, particularly because Tshipi demonstrated its commitment even before it began production. Tshipi’s work has paved the way for us to learn why secretary birds are in trouble.”
Sagittarius serpentarius, as scientists like to call the secretarybird, is one of South Africa’s most iconic creatures; a secretarybird is even featured on the country’s coat of arms. Secretarybirds were once a common sight stalking through the South African bush but their numbers are plummeting and this year has been listed as “near threatened” in South Africa and “globally vulnerable by the International Red Data List of Threatened Species.
Tshipi é Ntle is chaired by Safika’s chairman Saki Macozoma, Safika’s chief executive Moss Ngoasheng is a director of Tshipi. Former South African Brian Gilbertson’s Jupiter Mining is also a major shareholder. Macozoma said: “When I was told of the plight of the secretarybirds I immediately said this was a project we should support. The project has been a great success and is providing South African scientists with valuable information that will help us protect these vulnerable creatures. We are proud to be working with dedicated scientists and honoured that we have won this award.”
Nontokazi Mabuza, Tshipi’s health, safety, environment and community liaison officer, who accepted the award at a function in Kimberley on Monday (March 19) said: “From the very beginning Tshipi é Ntle was determined to be an environmentally responsible organisation. We started the secretarybird project at the same time we started construction on our new Tshipi Borwa mine near Hotazel in the Northern Cape. Our commitment is to create a profitable mine that will provide employment and economic benefits for the people of the Northern Cape for generations to come, to ensure that we help the human communities where the mine is situated and to help protect the environment whenever we can.”