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A monumental initiative in aid of Namibia’s
black rhino conservation
B2Gold launches The Rhino Gold Bar
By Elzanne McCulloch
“What difference can 1000 ounces of gold make?” asked the booklet on our dinner table. A prospectus compiled by Canadian mining company B2Gold to introduce a new project. A project of colossal proportions. During the course of an evening, what I imagined would be another corporate grandstanding event, morphed from project-launch-slash-donation-handover to a celebration of philanthropy on a level never before seen in southern Africa. An initiative not just spectacular in the enormity of the monetary value of its contribution (a whopping N$25 million worth of gold), but in the scale in which it will be implemented. Sustainably and with an ultimate focus on longevity.
The prospectus goes on to answer its own question regarding the aid power of 1000 ounces: “At B2Gold, we believe it has the power to help rural communities in Namibia save a species.”
The species in question? Namibia’s unique and special population of desert-adapted black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis bicornis. The communities? The local population and conservancies of Namibia’s Kunene Region who have been given the burden, and privilege, to safeguard the largest population of free-roaming black rhinos on earth. A monumental task, worthy of monumental support.
Gathered at Droombos just outside Windhoek on January 30th, a collection of Namibia’s most prominent business personalities, B2Gold executives (some coming from as far as Canada) and the shining stars in Namibia’s conservation fraternity, gathered beneath canopies of camel thorn trees to clink glasses and later celebrate the largest single contribution to conservation Namibia has ever seen.
Launching the project, Save the Rhino Trust board member Ginger Mauney (who designed the original concept), B2Gold Namibia Country Manager Mark Dawe and B2Gold President Clive Johnson each addressed the gathered masses. Passion radiated from their every word and an infectious and exciting energy permeated the room. Applause was about as common as a speaker pausing to take a breath between words.
So what are the 1000 ounces going to achieve, you may wonder?
The gold, which was mined right here in Namibia and sponsored in full by B2Gold, will be minted into a limited-edition collection of 1000 gold bars in varying sizes: 10 half-kilogram bars, 690 one-ounce bars and 300 half-ounce bars. It is the first time in history that gold has been minted and used for the sustainable protection of an endangered species, making these gold bars almost as rare and unique as our black rhinos. Perfect symmetry.
By buying, or investing, in these gold bars, individuals around the world can secure an investment that has historically been more stable than any other investment, and simultaneously contribute towards one of the most critical biodiversity conservation initiatives globally.
Who will benefit from this? (Rhinos can’t do anything with gold?)
Proceeds from the sale of the Rhino Gold Bar will be managed by an Advisory Committee established by B2Gold that will include representatives from Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT), Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), the Namibia Chamber of Environment (NCE) and the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism. According to B2Gold: “The funds will be used in two ways: A portion of the proceeds will be invested to provide long-term sustainable financing for black rhino conservation, while significant funding will be applied immediately to conservation actions in the field, including support for patrols, intelligence activities and to rural communities for whom the protection of rhinos is their birthright.”
That’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? Our communities, with invaluable support from NGOs such as SRT and IRDNC, are at the very core of conservation in Namibia. Our Community-Based Natural Resource Management programme is the cornerstone of our celebrated success as a nation. As Dr Margaret Jacobsohn, esteemed Namibian conservationist, said at the event: “Individuals can make a difference, but only communities can change the world.”
“Creative philanthropy for the future of our planet” – B2GOLD
At the start of this new decade, northwestern Namibia celebrates more than 2 years of no poaching. This is a success story built on the dedication and indispensable efforts of a collection of people, organisations and governmental institutions that banded together to fight a war for conservation of a species. NGOs such as SRT, IRDNC, NNF and NACSO. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibia Police, Blue Rhino Taskforce and Namibia Defence Force. And above all: the conservancies, Rhino Rangers, and individuals from local communities who build their existence on and around the rhino economy in northwestern Namibia and dedicate their lives to the protection of the species. The support from The Rhino Gold Bar project will be a lifeline with longevity.
To view the Rhino Gold Bar prospectus visit: www.b2gold.com
To invest in your own special natural Namibian resource and to help conservation organisations and communities invest in the future of Namibia’s rhinos, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.