63 Wessel Road, Rivonia, Sandton

Water Services

Mining Water Studies

This unit focuses solely on mining and processing. Key areas of work include:

v   Water aspects of environmental impact assessment and feasibility studies

v   Mine dewatering studies

v   Hydrochemistry and contamination studies

v   Mine waste management and characterisation

v   Waste disposal investigations

v   Numerical groundwater modelling

v   Mine closure studies



GCS offers quality monitoring services that are cost-effective and informative to allow clients to better manage their operations. These services include.

v   Water quality monitoring of surface water and groundwater

v   Microbiological monitoring of surface water and groundwater

v   Groundwater level monitoring

v   Air quality monitoring

v   Bio-monitoring

v   Occupational hygiene monitoring


Water Resources

The Water Resources unit is key to unlocking sustainable water resources. Its services include:

v   Groundwater and surface water resource development

v   Water supply investigations

v   Groundwater reserve determinations

v   Aquifer protection and remediation

v   Natural/mineral water development for bottled water.

v   Conjunctive use water supply schemes



Accounting for every drop of water is key to sustainability. Key services include:

v   Specialist water studies for EIA’s

v   Catchment hydrology and resource evaluations

v   Integrated water management

v   Flood hydrology and flood lines

v   Storm water management plans and designs

v   Dam yield analysis

v   Dynamic water and salt balances

v   Water footprinting

v   Hydrological modelling

v   Water management and planning


Groundwater Resources for Agriculture


Potential study areas are identified and assessed for suitability through Aerial Photo Interpretation (API) and remote sensing. Ground geophysical investigations are performed to locate suitable borehole or well positions on site. Various geophysical methods are employed depending on the site specific geology and conditions. Catchment yield potential is evaluated through reserve calculations to determine the sustainability of groundwater abstraction.

During its 30 years of operation in Africa, GCS has established a comprehensive list of drilling and aquifer test contractors who can be employed to install and equip the boreholes. Once installed, aquifer tests can be performed to determine the sustainable yield of the aquifers. GCS performs drilling and aquifer test supervision to ensure optimal design, construction, and data collection. Hydrochemistry is determined to ensure water quality suitability for the intended use.

Agricultural studies allow for the integration of water (surface and groundwater), soils and the environment. With GCS’ strong background in these sectors, GCS specialists can offer a wide range of expertise to the agricultural sector. GCS has an established history of providing specialist inputs that facilitate a range of developments and the specialist skills required for this work can be and have been effectively applied to Agricultural projects.

Irrigation is a good example of an integrated application of the soils and water spheres. This is especially true for the direction in which agriculture is heading; precision agriculture. There is a drive toward more cost-effectively managed agricultural resources by better understanding one’s available water and soil resources. GCS has considerable experience in the development and management of groundwater resources in Africa and offers the following professional services:

v   API and remote sensing

v   Database development and management

v   Geophysical investigations

v   Contract management and supervision

v   Borehole design and construction

v   Resource evaluation (quantity and quality)

v   Catchment reserve calculation studies

v   Well field design, modelling, and optimisation.

v   Borehole scheme management and monitoring



Environmental Unit



The GCS Environmental unit handles a variety of authorisation, licensing, and permitting processes in the mining, environmental, renewable energy, water usage, and waste industries. The unit through ongoing professional development, our environmental team stays current on all statutory requirements and legislative amendments.


Regulatory Services:

A constitutionally protected environmental right has increased the awareness of environmental law in every aspect of decision making which might have an impact on the environment. Companies operating within the South African environmental sphere have an obligation to adhere to the legal obligations, norms, standards, principles, and guidelines as contained in South Africa’s multifaceted network of environmental legislation.


Regulatory services offered include:

v   Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Legal Compliance Audits

v   Due diligence audits

v   Compliance audits in respect of:

o  Prospecting and Mining Right Applications under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (Act No. 28 of 2002) (MPRDA)

o  Applications for listed activities under the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998) (NEMA)

o  Applications for listed activities under the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) (NEM:WA)

o  Applications for listed activities under the National Environment Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (Act No. 39 of 2004) (NEM:AQA)

o  Financial provision and closure determination in terms of MPRDA and NEMA

v   General environmental legal advice, legal assistance, and legal reviews

v   Environmental Authorisations and Assessments

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in line with the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No. 107 of 1998) is a systematic process to identify potential positive and negative impacts (biophysical, socio‐economic, and cultural) on the environment associated with proposed activity.

According to the NEMA, sustainable development requires the integration of social, economic, and environmental factors in the planning, implementation and evaluation of decisions to ensure that development serves present and future generations.

v   Water Use Licensing

GCS has many years of experience in the compilation of Integrated Water Use License Applications in terms of the National Water Act, 1988 (Act No: 36 of 1988) (IWULA) which has been gained in a variety of economic sectors. The unit provides comprehensive services relating to water use licensing and the water use regulation process, including:

o    Integrated Water Use Licensing

o    Water Use License Auditing and Amendments

o    Water Use Registration

o    Transfer of water use entitlements (water trading)

o    Water Use License Consolidation Application

o    Water Footprint Assessments



Specialised Environmental Services

v   Environmental Management Systems

Organisations across the board are becoming increasingly focused on achieving and demonstrating sound environmental performance.

An Environmental Management System (EMS) is part of an overall management system that includes organisational structure, planning activities, responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, reviewing and maintaining the Environmental Management Plan (EMP). ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System forms an integral part of the EMS of an organisation.

Services include:

o   Environmental Management Systems

o   Environmental Management Plans

o   Performance Management Audits

o   ISO 14001:2015 development and compliance


v   Financial Provision and Closure Applications

Closure refers to the process leading to the issue of a closure certificate in terms of Section 43 of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources

Development Act, 2002 (Act No 28 of 2002) (MPRDA). In terms of Section 41 (3) of the MPRDA, an applicant must make the prescribed

financial provision for the rehabilitation or management of negative environmental impacts. GCS makes use of the Department of Mineral

 Resources (DMR) Guideline Document for the Evaluation of Financial Provisions made by the Mining Industry.

Closure Services include:

o   Closure Plans

o   Rehabilitation Plans

o   Measurement and Monitoring Plans

o   Financial Provisions for closure


v   Environmental Control Management

Based on the aspects and impacts identified in the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR), Environmental and Social Management Plans (ESMP) are developed for each of the components, to be implemented during project design, site preparation, and construction and operation phases. The purpose of these plans will be to provide the clients project and operational staff with working ‘manuals’ detailing the safeguards developed to protect the environmental and social entities described in the Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) by leveraging positive and limiting negative impacts.


The Environmental Control Officer (ECO) services offered include the auditing and management of the following key elements:

o  Objective/operational policy – identification of broad environmental outcomes desired

o  Target/Performance criteria – measurable performance criteria to measure objective achievements.

o  Management and mitigation actions/Implementation strategies – definition of conditions to be met and actions to be taken to achieve objectives and targets.

o  Performance monitoring – observations or measurements required to determine whether targets are met and auditing to prove compliance with management strategies.

o  Reporting – provision of the chain of reporting and clear record keeping.

o  Corrective action and response

o  Responsibility – outline of personnel responsible for the management of elements or specific components of the element



v   Aquatic, Terrestrial and Wetland Ecology

The environmental unit provides a wide range of ecological products and services to clients in the industrial, construction, mining , oil and gas, rail, renewable energy and power generation sectors. We adopt a holistic approach in the compilation of the various ecological reports. Our teams also have expert knowledge in all relevant ecological factors, aiming to provide the client with an integrated ecological plan which considers all environmental factors as a whole, including the way that they are interlinked.

The following ecological studies can be performed by GCS:

o  Wetland Delineation, Classification and Functionality Assessments                        

o  Wetland Restoration, Rehabilitation and Management Plan Development

o  Biodiversity Action Plans

o  Ecological Flow Requirements

o  Habitat Assessments

o  Aquatic Macro-Invertebrate Assessments (SASS5)

o  Ecological Baseline Assessment

o  Design and Implementation of Bio–Monitoring Plans

o  Floral, Faunal and Avifaunal Surveys

o  Grazing Capacity Determination

o  Ecological Management Plans


Social Services

v   Stakeholder Engagement

Public participation is a statutory requirement in most, if not all, recently promulgated environmental legislation. In South Africa, the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (Act No 107 of 1998) (NEMA), forms the basis of stakeholder consultation. In addition, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002 (Act No 28 of 2002) (MPRDA) and National Water Act (Act No 36 of 1998) place the responsibility on developers to ensure that stakeholders are involved in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process or Water Use License Application (WULA) process, as it may be, for any new development.


v   Social and Economic Impact Assessment

In terms of NEMA and the MPRDA, an EIA must determine the nature, extent, duration, probability, and significance of the potential environmental, social and cultural impacts of proposed developments.

Social and Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) is normally undertaken as part of the EIA process. The public participation process can assist hugely with data collection and analysis. SEIA attempts to predict the probable impact of a development on the day‐to‐day lives and activities of individuals and communities as well as the way in which they interact with one another.

A number of African countries have already included the requirement to combine the EIA process with a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) in their environmental legislation. Combining the biophysical and social components of impact assessment places GCS in a strategic position to apply its wide variety of in‐house skills in a holistic manner.


v   Social and Labour Plans

Social and Labour Plans (SLPs) are a pre‐requisite for the granting of mining or production rights in order to ensure the effective transformation of the mining and production industries. The SLP requires the applicant to report on a variety of elements, which include training, skills development, and the economic development of the area in which they operate. In this regard, GCS is able to assist clients in identifying possible Local Economic Development (LED) projects as well as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects. Our team of Social Scientists assist in facilitating the interactions and partnerships between the client, project host communities, regulators and other stakeholders to develop and ensure mutual prosperity and long-term sustainable solutions.


Other social products offered include:

o  Stakeholder engagement and public participation

o  Facilitation of stakeholder and community interaction

o  Communication strategies

o  Feasibility studies

o  Social risk assessment

o  Socio‐economic impact assessment

o  Baseline social surveys

o  Opinion polls

o  Community newsletters

o  Training

o  Social Audits (SIA and SLP)

o  Sustainability Performance


Environmental, Social and Governance - ESG


GCS offers the following ESG services:

Corporate advisory services

v   Water Stewardship

o      CDP Water Disclosure assistance (responsive to catchment-level sustainability)

o      Water-related risks - translating findings into business-relevant strategy

o      Water Footprint Analysis WWF Water Risk Assessment

o      Catchment water-user relationships and sustainability assessment

v   Decarbonization/Climate Change

o      Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Scope 1 and 2 determinations

o      CDP Climate Disclosure assistance (science-based targets advisory)

o      GHG Scope 3 screen (value chain contributions boundary determination)

o      Climate resilience in long-term planning (Mine closure objectives)

o      Physical and Transition climate change risks over three-time horizons (TCFD aligned)

o      Climate change risk assessment for Equator Principles IV


v   Mine Closure

o      Environmental Risk and Liability Assessment

o      Hydrological Assessments and Design

o      Social and Economic Assessments with stakeholder engagement

o      Water Treatment (active and passive treatment applications

o      Engineered Bio-Remediation and Phyto Remediation

o      Invasive Plant Control

o      Civil Design Town and rural Planning & Architecture

o      Mine Land Rehabilitation

o      Hydrogeology and Hydrology

o      Geochemistry

o      Ecology & Soils

o      Pitlakes

o      Erosion Control

o      Seepage Management

o      Infrastructure/ Asset Management

o      Decommissioning of Tailings and Waste Rock Dump

Other ESG Services:

o      Economic Performance

o      Environmental Performance

o      Societal Performance

o      Carbon Footprint Reporting

o      Risk Management Services











Contaminated Site Management (CSM)


Aim of Our Investigations

The aim of contaminated land assessments (Phase I, Phase II, etc.) are to improve and develop conceptual site models which help

identify potential source-pathway-receptor exposure linkages and highlight the potential risk posed to the identified human and

environmental receptors.

Contaminated land assessments are crucial in determining the main contaminants of potential concern (COPCs), the migration

characteristics of the contaminants, the source and extent of the contamination in soil and groundwater and if the contaminants can

 be broken down naturally without external intervention.

The data collected during the investigation feed into the remedial options appraisal (ROA) and remedial action plan (RAP) which is

developed to address the site-specific soil and water pollution if it is found that the site contamination poses undue risk to the


Phase I and II contamination investigations include:

o      Risk based assessments

o      Remediation studies

o      Waste characterisation

o      Source and plume delineation

o      Due diligence studies


Services offered:

v   Phase I Investigations

A Phase I investigation is a quick and inexpensive investigation that highlights possible areas of concern and to gain a better understanding of a site and the site history.

Scope of work for a Phase I includes:

o      Desktop Study

o      Site interview and walkover with manager

o      Determining the site history (spills/leaks or loss)

o      Chemical data sheets stored on-site.

o      Any previous investigation undertaken on-site.

o      Determine if any maps or groundwater chemistry databases are available.


v   Phase 1.5 Investigation

This investigation is used to determine where the impact is and what risk the impact poses to human health and the environment.

Scope of work for a Phase 1.5 includes:

o      Targeting areas of concern identified during the Phase I

o      Buried Utility Clearance of target areas.

o      Shallow soil augering

o      Soil Vapour Survey with a PID

o      Inspecting soil for visual and olfactory signs of contamination

o      Submitting soil samples for analysis of Chemical of Concern (CoC)

o      Hydrocensus to identify surrounding groundwater users (Receptors)


v   Phase II Investigation

Based on the finding of the Phase 1.5 investigation, a Phase II investigation may be recommended if risk was identified for nearby receptors. This investigation includes delineating the contamination plume and collecting information to develop a conceptual site model. Additional soil samples are collected and in most cases groundwater monitoring wells are installed in areas of concern and down-gradient of the suspected source of impact.

Scope of work for a phase II investigation includes:

o      Soil sampling and analysis for CoC

o      Groundwater sampling and analysis for CoC

o      Plume delineation

o      Determining biodegradation capacity

o      Identifying sources of impact

o      Identify theoretical risk posed to receptors.

o      Identify potential source-pathway-receptor linkages.

o      Develop a Conceptual Site Model (CSM)


v   Additional Phase II Investigation

The purpose of the Additional Phase II investigation is to further delineate the contamination plume and improve the conceptual

            site model. Additionally, previously identified risk can be rules out or new risk are identified.

Scope of work for an additional phase II investigation includes:

o      Continued groundwater sampling and monitoring

o      Further delineation of the contamination plume

o      Determining the interconnectivity of different aquifer systems

o      Determine indoor inhalation risk.

o      Determine the age of impact.

o      Determine the mobility of the contamination and the potential for recovery.

o      Further develop the Conceptual Site Model

o      Identify current S-P-R linkages potentially complete.


v   Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessment (DQRA):

Establish site specific target / clean up levels to determine if the site poses a risk to the identified receptors by using site specific information. An analytical model is then used to establish the SSTLs for the different modelled scenarios, such as ingestion of groundwater, leaching of contaminants from impacted soils to site groundwater, direct dermal exposure to contaminated soil and vapour inhalation.


v   Remedial Options Appraisal (ROA) and Remedial Action Plan (RAP) Development

Should a site pose a very high risk to receptors after completing an Additional Phase II investigation a DQRA and/or a ROA is undertaken. During the ROA all possible remedial technologies are compared to determine the remedial technology which would be economically feasible, would improve identified impact and would practical based on-site constraints. After all remedial options are compared a remedial technology is recommended in the RAP which lays out the plan to undertake the chosen remedial technology.



v   Groundwater monitoring

Groundwater monitoring is followed by the Phase II investigation where low risk is identified to nearby receptors. The purpose of groundwater monitoring is to monitor (a) changes in concentrations of CoC, (b) migration patterns and changes in groundwater flow directions, (c) biodegradation capacities and monitor natural attenuation (MNA) and (d) changes in S-P-R linkages.

The scope of work includes:

o      Groundwater Sampling for longer term trend analysis

o      Determining Groundwater flow direction

o      Calculating current biodegradation capacities and MNA

o      Identify S-P-R linkages.


Geotechnical Engineering 


Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology is an essential component of civil engineering, mining, petroleum, or any other engineering concerned with construction on or in the ground. This discipline supplied by GCS in-house, uses principles of soil mechanics and rock mechanics to investigate subsurface conditions and materials; determine the relevant physical, mechanical and chemical properties of the materials; evaluate stability of natural slopes and man-made soil deposits; assess risks posed by site conditions; design earthworks and structural foundations; and monitor site conditions, earthworks, and foundation construction.

The GCS Geotechnical and Engineering Geology unit draws its experience from several different divisions within the company including Water, Waste, Environmental and GIS

Typical Geotechnical Engineering projects begin with a review of project needs to define the required material properties. Then follows a site investigation of soil, rock, fault distribution and bedrock properties on and below an area of interest to determine their engineering properties including how they will interact with, on or in a proposed construction. We especially provide a very close combination between the above and Hydrogeology.

Site Investigations:

Investigations for:

o    Housing developments (including NHBRC classification)

o    Commercial, industrial, and port developments

o    Pipelines and tunnels

o    Roads, rail and infrastructure

o    Dams, resevoirs, and pipelines

o    Mining infrastructure

o   Construction Planning Report

o    Geotechnical and Geomorphical Terrain Evaluation

o    Dolomite stability investigations for infrastructure

o    Investigations for borrow pits and quarries and evaluation of construction materials

o    Investigations for renewable engergy projects (solar, wind and hydro)

o    Investigations of the stability of Slimes Dams (TSF)

v   Analysis and Design

Geotechnical analysis and designs for:

o    Slope stability analysis and design

o    Ground improvement.

o    Design of lateral support and retaining structures

o    BDesign of earth dames and canals

o    Design, compliance, and inspections in accordance with GISTM regulations of existing and new TSF's

o    Desgisn of cut-off walls and diaphragm walls

o    Earthworks managements and quality assurance control

o    Instrumentation and monitoring of structures

o    MSite inspection and approval of foundation excavations

v   Fields of experience

o    Mine Waste Storage Facilities and Dams.

o    Mine Pit and Slope Stability.

o    Mine Rehabilitation Studies (cover design and compaction studies)

o    Water Causeways and Culverts

o    Bridges, Roads and Tunnels

o    Power Lines

o    Dolomite Stability and Undermining Investigations

o    Rural and Urban Infrastructure Investigations (schools and hospitals)

o    Housing Development Site Assessments

o    Material Assessments and Usage

o    Ground Improvement

o    Construction Planning Investigation and Report


   For all Geotechnical Engineering enquiries please contact


Renewable Energy


GCS Water and Environmental Divisions have combined with GCS Geotechnical and other specialist service providers within GCS to provide a specialised Renewable Energy unit.  The aim of the unit is to provide a cost effective service to our clients, which is tailored to the specific requirements of each project.  The GCS Renewable Energy unit draws its experience from all divistions of the company, including Geotechnical, Water, Waste, Environmental and GIS.  Typical renewable energy projects begin with a review of project needs to define the require material properties. From there follows a site investigation of soil, rock, fault distribution and bedrock properties on and below an area of interest to determine their engineering properties including how they will interact with, on, or in a proposed construction


Geotechnical Engineering

Geotechnical Engineering Services to include:

·         Geotechnical Desktop Studies, Feasibility Studies, and Site Investigations for solar and wind farms.

·         Detailed geological, hydrogeological and geotechnical data are often a notable unknown factor in the design and operation of renewable energy projects, the lack of which may pose a significant risk to the project. GCS offers a phased and systematic approach towards site assessment, implementation and construction supervision and the identification and mitigation of geotechnical constraints.

·         Site Investigations including test pitting, auger boreholes, borehole drilling, in-situ sampling and testing, penetrometer testing including DPL, DCP, DPSH and CPTu.

·         Geophysical Surveys including resistivity, magnetic, electromagnetic, seismic, GPR and gravity surveys. Pile Load testing of rammed piles.

·         Permeability testing including percolation tests, double ring infiltrometer and Lefranc.

·         Geotechnical drilling and in situ borehole testing including SPTs, pressure meter, Lugeon/Packer tests. Plate-load tests and compaction assessment for founding conditions.

·         All associated laboratory testing and analysis for disturbed and undisturbed samples.


Water Services

Water services to include:


·        Hydrology impact assessments

·        Flood lines & flood risk

·        Stormwater management plans


·        Hydrogeological Investigation for water supply,

·        Geophysical Investigation for Geological site characterisation,

·        Hydrogeological impact assessments, and

·        Hydrogeological baseline assessments.


Environmental Management

Environmental Services to include:

·        Environmental Screening Assessments

·        Environmental Authorisations

·        Water Use Licensing

·        Terrestrial and Aquatic Specialist Studies

·        Closure Cost Determinations

·        Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Plans