An indigenous nursery at Koffiefontein

Petra’s Koffiefontein mine and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (“DAFF”) have been working closely during the year under review to establish a community nursery. The nursery, which forms part of the DAFF/Xhariep District Greening Programme, will sell affordable indigenous trees and seedlings and will contribute positively to both the lives of the Xhariep District community members and to the environment.

The project has a number of important aims:

The nursery will be managed and operated by a group of community members called Good Hope. The Good Hope agricultural group, a locally based organisation registered in 2009, has been selected as the project beneficiary following its request to the Free State Department of Agriculture to secure them land for crop farming. The group consists of 15 members from Ditlhake Township. Good Hope is listed with the Department of Agriculture, and is therefore recommended by the local extension officer.

Although Good Hope will be solely responsible for all the plants for the nursery, the Department of Agriculture with mine management will initially oversee and advise the group on the running of the nursery. Good Hope will also receive training on general business skills, horticulture and project planning.

Koffiefontein donated the land on which the nursery will operate and will also supply the project with water for a period of two years, and the Working for Water Group will supply felled exotic and invader trees to be sold by the nursery. The project also has the support of both local and district municipalities.

Looking ahead, it is hoped that the nursery will ultimately plant and maintain a total of 1 million plants and trees in the district over a period of five years, producing plants and trees for other community projects in the area and nearby towns. It is also envisaged that the project will expand to later assist Koffiefontein with the rehabilitation of its mine dumps.

A total of R22,750 was spent on the project during FY 2011 and R50,000 has been budgeted for the 2012 financial year.

During FY 2011, the following activities were completed in respect to the nursery project:

The opening of the nursery, which formed part of the mine’s Arbour Day celebrations, took place on 9 September 2011. The day was launched with a celebration and opening lunch hosted by the Municipality. Trees were planted in honour of Arbour Day with various departments and individuals sponsoring 50 trees in rememberance of someone or something. These trees were planted in the mining village to replace the alien pepper trees that had been removed.