Huge open diamond mining pits are currently being turned into oyster farms and nurseries in a multi-million-rand project that may well turn the diamond wasteland of Namaqualand, South Africa into a tourist attraction, Israelidiamond.co.il reported.
Namaqualand, where 80 years of diamond mining has left much of the coastline littered with deep holes, is currently undergoing extensive rehabilitation.
Giant diamond miner De Beers has agreed to back a plan to restore the pitted landscape. Among the projects is an oyster farm which has already been set up in a converted diamond mine pit near Kleinzee.
De Beers also recently joined forces with the Conservation Africa global environmental group to set up a 32000ha eco-zone in the middle of its diamond mine which was once the largest alluvial diamond-producing area in the world.
The project, which is called Living Edge of Africa Project (Leap), is to serve as a lifeline for the abandoned diamond mining towns of Kleinzee and Koingnaas, which morphed into ghost towns when De Beers retrenched most of its Namaqualand workforce.
Leap’s employment projects will help De Beers to comply with strict new diamond mining regulations pertaining to social labor plans and ecological conservation.
Among the planned projects are sea water greenhouses to produce food and fresh water for local consumption, aquaculture farms, producing oysters, perlemoen and mussels in tanks and water-logged mining pits, wind farms producing renewable energy and more.
The project is the joint brainchild of global conservation group Conservation International and environmental scientist Dr Peter Carrick, who heads the Namaqualand Restoration Initiative at the University of Cape Town.