The Buttonshope Conservancy Trust was established in 2010 and formally registered in 2011 to ensure the conservation, rehabilitation and protection of the natural environment around our Booysendal operation. In line with the National Draft Biodiversity Offset Policy, Booysendal’s offset area is 30 times greater than the land area physically impacted by mining. The 3 339LA ha of land designated for offset conservation is managed in accordance with the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act No. 57. This includes a commitment that all protected areas managed by the Buttonshope Conservation Trust will be donated to the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) when mining operations close at Booysendal.

Offset areas managed by the Buttonshope Conservation Trust notably include rivers and their catchment areas, featuring a unique area of montane grassland near the headwaters of the Groot-Dwars River which traverses the Booysendal mining area.

The trust is in the process of registering the De Berg Nature Reserve , which incorporates portions of the off-areas and the Davel Nature Reserves. We recognise the importance of ecological corridors, so land acquisitions by the Buttonshope Conservation Trust in 2021 focussed on land connecting the De Berg and Verloren Vallei Nature Reserves. We will continue to expand land under the control of the Buttonshope Conservation Trust giving special attention to conservation corridors between involving members of the local community, the trust also aims to raise environmental awareness through education and training programmes, restore land to near-pristine condition, which includes the removing of alien species, as well as the establishing of sustainable development projects.

Governance and management of the Buttonshope Conservancy Trust

The Buttonshope Conservancy Trust Board of Trustees includes representatives from Northam and MTPA, as well as academics and independent experts. The original Trust agreement was developed on a multi-stakeholder basis and commits to highvalue biodiversity management and the expansion of land under management control in line with the MTPA’s long-term goals. The Trust’s funding is guaranteed by Booysendal mine and the funding model is refined periodically. Booysendal’s current annual contributions are R1 million per annum (2016: R400 000, with annual escalation).

Together the Booysendal operation and the Buttonshope Conservation Trust own 12 937 hectares (ha) of the 14 691 ha under its control. Of this, 8 540LA ha is managed independently from our Booysendal operations and includes the 3 339LA ha (3 168 ha in F2021) specifically dedicated for Booysendal’s biodiversity offset and is under management control of the Trust. In F2022, the Trust acquired 171 ha of additional land to the value of R21 million in support of the offset.

Biodiversity management plans

A survey of the land managed by Booysendal and the Buttonshope Conservancy Trust was completed in 2021, this was commissioned in line with the National Environmental Management (Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004) and will be used as a reliable and credible baseline for managing and conserving biodiversity as part of the wider discipline of sustainable land use planning.

The Buttonshope Conservancy Trust [photo]