“While SRK’s wide range of professional disciplines continue to be relevant in their own right, the market today requires a more integrated approach,” says Manda Hinsch, partner and principal scientist at SRK Consulting.
“For instance, our water management expertise is applied in areas from tailings storage facilities (TSFs) to disaster management, and our WET unit reflects that shift.”
WET unit partner and principal scientist at SRK Consulting James Lake says that water supply has become a critical issue in Southern Africa, with many clients becoming more proactive about their water management strategies.
“The configuration of our new WET unit allows closer collaboration among our professionals with their respective skill sets,” he says, highlighting the value of teamwork in addressing mine closures, especially in light of the recent Global Industry Standards on Tailings Management (GISTM).
“In our mine closure planning for TSFs, we are guided by the strong GISTM focus on water management of the facility at closure,” he explains. “This requires a range of inputs from the hydrologists in the WET unit.”
The GISTM has also placed added responsibility on stakeholders to develop emergency preparedness and response plans, according to SRK Consulting senior technologist Andries Fourie.
“This includes site visits and dam break analysis to understand the affected area and determine the vulnerabilities of communities close to TSFs,” he says.
“The work aims to ensure a shared state of readiness among stakeholders, and to even identify alternative rescue services where public sector capacity in an area is low.”