Delegates to the 8th Oppenheimer – De Beers Group Research Conference, held at De Beers’s Headquarters in Ormonde, Johannesburg this week, enjoyed a programme packed with a wide array of topics.
Internationally renowned and one of South Africa’s first environmental historians, Professor Emeritus Jane Carruthers delivered the key note address on the first day, titled A Century of Research in South Africa.
E Oppenheimer & Son Directors, Jonathan and Nicky Oppenheimer and Professor Emeritus Jane Carruthers
The keynote address on the second day by Prof Norman Owen-Smith, one of South Africa’s leading mammologists, dealt with the contributions from GPS telemetry to ecology and conservation.
Prof Norman Owen-Smith
The award for best conference presentation went to Riaan Rifkin of the Department of Genetics, Center for Microbial Ecology and Genomics at the University of Pretoria, for his fascinating paper on ancient human and pathogen DNA found in South African archaeological sendiments, while Sean Heighton’s illustration on using geographic traceability as a conservation tool against the scaly trade in pangolins won the award for the best poster.
Closing the conference, De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd Chairman, Nicky Oppenheimer, said the diversity of conference topics offered delegates the opportunity to step outside their small worlds of expertise and listen to others doing totally different things, allowing them to catch a spark and open up their own worlds.
Nicky Oppenheimer presenting the award for best poster to Sean Heighton
Mpumi Zikalala, Vice-President of De Beers Sightholder Sales, South Africa, delivering the opening address
Photographer: Albert Froneman