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Celebrating World Environment Day

05 JUNE 2021

Learn how our teams are living this year's theme of 'Ecosystem Restoration'

World Environment Day is celebrated every year on 5 June to encourage global awareness and action to protect our environment. This year’s theme is ‘Ecosystem Restoration’, aligning with the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration – a global mission to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide. 

In addition to the work our teams do to progressively rehabilitate areas no longer needed for mining, we’re working with our communities around the world to help restore natural ecosystems and educate the next generation on why this is important for the future of our planet.

Restoring native forests in Colombia

Since 1991, our Cerro Matoso operation has been working to restore the operation’s surrounding native forests, which years earlier had been cleared for cattle farming.

The reforestation program has generated more than 1000 hectares of native vegetation, enriching the lands by reconnecting them with important water sources and encouraging the return of native birds and animals. So far, 306 bird, 56 mammal, 57 reptile and 33 amphibian species have been identified in the area.

While the program’s success has been beneficial for the environment, it’s also helping to improve the lives of community members who are employed to grow and plant the vegetation.

Catalina Pinto (pictured left), one of the program’s pioneering nursery farmers, has been an integral part of the initiative for 18 years and is passionate about her role.

“A tree is like a child for me, it is too important. I talk to them like I talk to my children. It means having protection for our planet and our community,” Catalina said.

Nursery farmer, Luz Dary Hoyos, who helped facilitate a large community tree planting event in 2019, said it was gratifying to help care for the plants while also earning a livelihood.

Together with its communities, Cerro Matoso continues to regenerate the forests. More than 60,000 trees were planted last year, and 57,000 more are planned for 2021.


Educating the next generation

In Australia, we’ve helped to educate young people about protecting and restoring the natural environment through hands-on outdoor learning.

The Junior Landcare program encourages school students to explore their environment and identify areas within their school or broader community where they can help improve biodiversity.

With our support, schools across the country received funding to carry out their projects, ranging from native tree planting programs, to designing and creating ‘bush tucker’ gardens that helped connect the students to country and educate them about local Indigenous culture.