63 Wessel Road, Rivonia, Sandton

Environmental Services


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