Preserving biodiversity at our mines: SLN saves an endangered plant

On May 22, Eramet is celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity. An opportunity to remind people of the importance of preserving the ecosystems that surround us. 


Respecting natural ecosystems and biodiversity on our mining sites is a major issue for Eramet. On the SLN site, a Group subsidiary, it takes shape in the preservation of Pleioluma butinii, a plant threatened with extinction.

What is Pleioluma butinii? 

Located on the Tiébaghi massif, where SLN operates a mining center, Pleioluma butinii is a shrub that can grow up to 4 meters high.

Listed in the Red List Authority (RLA) since 2019, Pleioluma butinii is a critically endangered species, threatened by fire, invasive species, and mining activity. As a result, it is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

In 2022, SLN and the New Caledonian Agronomic Institute (IAC) signed an agreement to ensure the conservation or restoration of this plant to a more favorable conservation status.


How is such a safeguard put in place? 

The conservation of a species in danger of extinction requires the conservation of existing populations and the multiplication of the species to replant individuals in the wild and thus create or enlarge the population. The works of multiplication pass by scientific research: all the methods are considered to try to reproduce Pleioluma butinii. As the cutting tests have not been successful, university work is continuing for in vitro reproduction in the laboratory. Since October 2022, promising marcotting* trials have been initiated: "After 5 months of maturation, two out of ten marcots show visible roots and their top part is in good health", says Dr. Alexandre Lagrange, specialist in plant ecology and biodiversity manager at SLN. 

*Layering consists of exposing (debarking) part of an aerial branch to which rooting hormones are applied and surrounding it with moist soil retained in a bag so that the branch develops roots.

Dr. Alexandre Lagrange

specialist in plant ecology and biodiversity manager at SLN 

The current findings give us hope to find an efficient way to reproduce this rare and endangered plant species Pleioluma butinii