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Tsumeb native husbands De Beers Group’s extensive game ranching and conservation interests

Tsumeb native husbands De Beers Group’s extensive game ranching and conservation interests

Diamond miner, De Beers Group, owns or controls extensive tracts of land in southern Africa, mostly as a result of its almost century-long involvement in diamond mining. Maintaining the ecology of these diverse land holdings falls on the shoulders of a born Namibian, Piet Oosthuizen, the group’s Senior Ecology Manager.

In July this year, Oosthuizen will celebrate a career of thirty years with De Beers.

Hailing from Tsumeb, Oosthuizen first worked in the financial services industry before joining the diamond company in 1989. By this time, he was a B Comm graduate merely looking for a job but never fully escaping his small-town Namibian roots.

It was while working as a financial manager in Kimberly where he was tasked to establish the group’s Financial Shared Services, that ecology was added to his portfolio. In 2013 he bade his financial duties farewell, from then on only working with the Kimberly mines game farming operations, and managing its conservation areas.

It was clear from the start that the conservation division had to be a stand alone business unit, generating its own income, promoting conservation in the process.

“As we say, conservation without money is just conversation. Ecology is a business in its own right covering the same operating aspects as any business, with market and economic exposures. This requires a wide set of skills supported by good networks. Conservation is a hard core activity and not for the faint-hearted. There are realities that you do not see on the Discovery Channel. Among our biggest immediate challenges are drought conditions, supply and demand challenges, local and global economic pressures, water supply for the animals, poaching and even sabotage, for example, veld fires normally originate from public roads and in some cases are deliberately started,” he said offering a snapshot of his outdoors office routine.

It is Oosthuizen’s job to ensure sustainable conservation practises, and to generate revenue from the substantial game herds of which he is the custodian. His job include the sustainable use of resources to support the game management plans and contribute to financial sustainability. This is achieved through the effective implementation of management plans governed by a set of standards.

“My role involves short and long-term planning, which covers the breeding programmes, genetic diversification, animal husbandry, game marketing and sales,” he said.

“I rely on a team that is just as passionate as I am. For me, working with such a team is energising and gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I enjoy the variety, planning and execution of activities, especially when we work with the game, but other times just watching them,” Oosthuizen elaborated.

“I am working my passion, living my dream. And I particularly like being out in the veld, especially when it is raining. Highlights are that De Beers Consolidated Mines is now a recognised entity in the game industry as an active role player and contributor. Furthermore, there are game auctions where knowledge and experiences are shared. The game ranching industry is a big family with a lot of positive energy.”

“I have the best job in the world. I am privileged to have been given the task of turning De Beers Consolidated Mines’ Ecology division into a self-sustainable entity,” he concluded.


 

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