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We developed the first Eastern Cape Climate Change Response Strategy for the Provincial Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs & Tourism. The strategy comprised determining the likely manifestations of climate change in the Province, such as changes in rainfall patterns down-scaled to the local level, and then identifying the main risks to local planning and development initiatives. We then identified technical options for climate change mitigation most appropriate to the circumstances and needs of the Eastern Cape Province. Responses to climate change risks were identified and developed as cross-sectoral adaptation and mitigation programmes. Detailed action plans were developed for high priority risks and opportunities.
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The Integrated Coastal Management Programme for the Amathole District Municipality was developed by our company on behalf of the Amathole District Municipality, Eastern Cape, South Africa. This programme complied with the National Coastal Management Programme (2014) and the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act (Act No. 24 of 2008). The work included a comprehensive status quo assessment of the biophysical and institutional state of the Amathole District Municipality’s coastline, which extends approximately 190km from the Great Fish River in the South West to just south of Hole in the Wall in the North East.
A vision for the Amathole District coastline was developed and, through a series of workshops and stakeholder engagements, seven priority areas for coastal management were identified. These priority areas included:
Within each priority area, management objectives were assigned and action plans were developed to ensure that the objectives of the Coastal Management Programme were achieved. A five year monitoring plan was also developed to ensure that the Coastal Management Plan is updated accordingly.
Our team comprised of two staff members who conducted all of the research, report writing and stakeholder engagement. The Coastal Management Programme for the Amathole District Municipality was adopted by council in January 2017.
Addax Bioenergy, a division of the Swiss-based energy corporation Addax & Oryx Group (AOG), sought to develop a greenfield integrated agricultural and renewable energy project in Sierra Leone to produce fuel ethanol and power. The project would consist of a sugarcane plantation, ethanol distillery and biomass power plant and related infrastructure and would produce up to 90,000 m3 of ethanol per annum, primarily for export to the EU market and about 100'000 MWh of renewable power per annum which will be fed into the national grid in Sierra Leone.
We were jointly contracted with CEMMATS, a local Sierrea Leone environmental consulting company, to undertake the Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) for Addax Bioenergy. This ESHIA, which was aligned to the requirements of the IFC Performance Standards, included a number of specialist studies, over half of which were done by in-house specialists. This ESHIA included 14 specialist studies, and was completed in January 2011. The project received significant funding from a consortium of international development funding institutes, which included AfDB and FMO. An independent review undertaken by Chalmer’s University of Sweden and Ecophys of the Netherlands found the assessment to be “outstanding” compared to 19 other similar biofuel assessments.
We conducted a Socio-Economic Baseline Survey (SEBS) & Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) for the proposed Alphamin Bisie Mining (ABM) SA Cassiterite (Tin) Mining project located in a remote area of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The proposed project will entail the establishment of an underground tin mining operation; with the required processing and supporting infrastructure being located on the surface. It is estimated that 350 000 tons per annum (tpa) of ore will be extracted from the mine.
After completing the initial SEBS scope of work, CES was retained to conduct the ESHIA process for the project. This ESHIA was not required to seek authorisation or approval from any mandated national or provincial authority in the DRC, but was prepared to assist ABM SA to operate the facility in line with international best practice, in particular the Equator Principles, IFC Performance Standards and other applicable international standards related to mining projects of this nature.
The ESHIA included an assessment of the environmental, social and health impacts of the proposed project and provided key stakeholders, including affected persons and communities in the study area, with an opportunity to comment on the report’s findings. This ESHIA was successfully concluded during the course of 2016.
Since completing the initial ESHIA for Kenmare Resources’ heavy mineral sands mine at Namalope, northern Mozambique, we have been contracted to provide a wide range of additional environmental and social advisory work. This has included the addendum ESIA for the Phase II expansion at the same site, and pre-feasibility and scoping studies for three future mine deposits. We have also been extensively involved post EIA work such as in ecological monitoring (including terrestrial and marine environments) and the development of the environmental management system for the operation. Our team has also been responsible for regular environmental and social compliance audits covering obligations associated with the environmental approval as well as the IFC Performance Standards and the Equator Principles. In 2016 we were contracted to undertake the ESHIA for the Pilivilli deposit which is located approximately 20km from the existing operations. This study is expected to be concluded in early 2018.
We were contracted by Zirco Resources (SA) to undertake the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for a two deposits, Roode Heuvel (6134ha) and Leeuvlei (5986ha), at a heavy minerals mine near the town of Garies in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Global total heavy mineral grades (THM) are in the order of 3%, with both deposits projected to contain some 1 400 million tons of mineralised sand. In addition to the mining and associated infrastructure (mineral separation plant, primary concentrator plant, tailings dam, offices, workshops and stores), the project will also require the construction of various ancillary infrastructure such as, but not limited to, the following:
In addition to the ESIA, we completed the following specialist work in-house as part of the ESIA process:
Environmental Authorisation was issued in February 2016.
Syrah Resources was one of the first companies to recognise the graphite potential in Mozambique and appointed us to conduct the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for their graphite mine in the Balama District of the Cabo Delgado Province in that country. Excluding market considerations, this mine has the potential to deliver a mine life of 100 years at a process rate of 1 800 000 tpa. The ESIA was completed in accordance with Mozambican regulatory requirements and also met the Equator Principles and International Finance Corporations Performance Standards 1 to 8. In addition to the ESIA, we completed the following specialist work in-house:
We were appointed to conduct the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for a Manganese smelter in the Coega IDZ by Exxaro Resources Limited. Two alternative sites, each 15ha in size, were considered for the proposed development. The purpose of the ESIA was to assess the impacts of the development on the biophysical and social environments by assessing the impacts on air quality, surface and groundwater, heritage and paleontological sites, the health and safety of employees and nearby communities, the visual impact that the project will have, the potential impacts from the waste streams of this development as well as the socio-economic impacts and benefits of the development.
The process also encouraged all interested and affected parties (I&APS) and stakeholders to provide comment and raise any concerns they had regarding the development. This ESIA was successfully completed in 2010 although never submitted as the client decided not to proceed with this development.
The Lusikisiki Regional Bulk Water Supply Scheme is a large water scheme critical for the supply of potable water to people living in the region. The Department of Water and Sanitation appointed us to undertake the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and secure environmental approval for the proposed Water Supply Scheme which included the construction of the Xalu Dam (estimated yield of 6.95m3/annum and an inundated area of 145ha) and associated infrastructure and the bulk reticulation throughout the wider Lusikisiki region. Separate EIAs and applications were also submitted for a licence to mine material for the dam wall, while Water Use Licence applications were submitted for various listed activities.
Our in-house team comprised of ten staff members who also conducted most of the required specialist studies including the Ecological Impact Assessment (Flora and Fauna), Social Impact Assessment, Aquatic Impact Assessment and Visual Impact Assessment. The environmental authorization for the development was received in 2016.
The development of a new deep water port was critical to the success of the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), outside Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape Province). We were appointed as the lead consultants for the Environmental Impact Assessment for this development and were responsible for the overall management of the project. The close proximity of the proposed port to two small islands increased the complexity of the assessment, which incorporated a large number of specialist studies covering both marine and terrestrial habitats. Subsequent to successful completion of the EIA, we were also involved in the planning of land use within the port precinct which had to take into consideration various terrestrial and marine ecological requirements.
The efficient operation of South Africa’s commercial ports, operated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), is vital to the economy of the country. The objective of this pioneering project was to assess the potential risks to port operations associated with climate change with a view to identifying viable mitigation and adaptation options. This project involved a review of current climate change scenarios for the coastal areas of South Africa and the implications for port operations of the various manifestations of climate were then identified and assessed using an event tree analysis approach. The final assessment was presented to the TNPA’s Risk Management Department.
Increasing energy demand, high electricity prices and carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels resulted in South Africa looking into the establishment of wind energy facilities (wind farms) and photovoltaic facilities (solar farms) as an alternative source of energy. We were appointed to undertake the Environmental Impact Assessment process for the 20MW Waainek Wind Energy Facility (WEF), one of South Africa’s first wind farms, in a series of reports and specialist assessments. The Waainek Wind Energy Facility was authorised in 2010 and came into full commercial operation in January 2016.
This WEF hosts eight turbines and is situated on the outskirts of Grahamstown. Waainek WEF was our first WEF project and the company has been responsible for providing environmental advisory services for the project from its inception (the EIA and associated permitting), through construction (as independent Environmental Conservation Officers) through to post-commissioning compliance (ECO and bird & bat monitoring). The bird & bat monitoring is now in its second year.
Since completing the EIA for the Waainek Wind Energy Facility we have conducted multiple Environmental Impact Assessments for various Wind Energy Facilities and Photovoltaic facilities throughout South Africa. The proposed Umsobomvu Wind Energy Facility (WEF), situated between Middelburg (Eastern Cape) and Noupoort (Northern Cape) on the provincial border, is another example of an EIA we have done in this sector. This EIA was conducted according to the National Environmental Management Act (Act No. 107 of 1998): Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2014 and included a series of specialist assessments, half of which were conducted by our in-house specialists. This WEF was authorised in February 2017.
In 2014, Sasol commissioned another environmental firm to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for an expansion of the Natural Gas Project in Inhambane Province, Mozambique. The specialist studies undertaken by this firm identified a ‘Critical Habitat’ within the area of direct influence of the project. The concept of a ‘Critical Habitat’ is defined in the IFC’s Performance Standard 6 and refers to an area of great biological importance based on a number of specific criteria. In the initial botanical biodiversity studies prepared for the EIA, it was argued that the Nhangonzo coastal stream, which lies due west of Bazaruto Island, together with its catchment, which drains an area of some 4,339 ha, meets the IFC criteria for a Critical Habitat.
The original EIA recommended further baseline assessment of the Critical Habitat, prior to final decisions about the location of production wells within its catchment. This commitment included an undertaking to prepare a more detailed biodiversity survey of the Critical Habitat and further consult with relevant stakeholders, so as to provide a more defendable basis for determining whether the various existing and intended land uses could reasonably co-exist within the area.
Our company was contracted to provide a Critical Habitat Assessment and second opinion of the site using the IFC performance standard guidelines. Given the complexity of ecosystems present at the site, the following baseline studies were conducted:
The combined findings of the 2015 biodiversity suite of studies confirmed that the Nhangonzo coastal stream and surrounding catchment qualified as an IFC Critical Habitat.
The Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism in the Eastern Cape Province appointed us, together with a team of biodiversity planners, to carry out the review of the Eastern Cape Biodiversity Conservation Plan (ECBCP) and to develop the Eastern Cape Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (ECBSAP).
The review of the ECBCP was not simply an update, but constituted a complete revision. Our company managed a large team of experts (16) whose specialist fields covered a wide range of taxonomic groups and habitat types. The development and finalisation of a Critical Biodiversity Area Map and associated land use guidelines incorporated significant stakeholder engagement and input was the main delverable.
The ECBSAP was aligned with the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan by integrating geographic and Eastern Cape context-specific activities that were required for achieving the outcomes and objectives. An Implementation and Monitoring Framework was also developed for the ECBSAP.
A comprehensive terrestrial monitoring programme has been implemented by Kenmare Resources at their Moma heavy mineral mine as part of their commitment to continual improvement with respect to environmental management. The objective of this programme is to assess the effectiveness of mitigation measures contained within the Environmental Management Plan and, where necessary, to introduce additional measures to ensure that negative impacts of the mine on terrestrial environmental health are minimised. These efforts are in line with best practice requirements of the IFC Performance Standards.
We were appointed to initiate the terrestrial monitoring programme in 2012. The first three years were spent collecting additional baseline data to refine the monitoring plan and identify key indicators, after which these indicators were monitored. The objectives of the monitoring are to:
Finnfund, Norfund and the FMO (Dutch Development Bank) appointed us as Lenders Independent Environmental Advisors to undertake a due diligence and subsequent bi-annual environmental and social (E&S) compliance monitoring for all of the Green Resources AS (GRAS) sub-Saharan timber plantation and sawmilling operations. The initial assessment required ascertaining the company’s implementation of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards and various action plans generated by GRAS and the project lenders consortium. A total of three audit rounds have been undertaken to date to assess GRAS compliance and performance in regard to the necessary environmental and social performance standards it adheres to. Key elements of this assignment are to provide recommendations to improve the management of E&S risks associated with the operations and to assess implementation of these recommendations.
We have been responsible for providing a range of environmental and social auditing services at Kenmare Resources’ heavy mineral mine at Moma with the aim of ensuring that the company is able to meet its commitments to conform to international best practice. This work has included regular audits against the following:
We were appointed to undertake a Socio-Economic Baseline Study (SEBS) as part of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority for Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. This development includes the construction of the Polihali Dam on the Senqu River in the Mokhotlong District of the Lesotho Highlands. This assignment included a baseline survey of 11 000 households in the catchment and downstream areas of the proposed dam over an 18 month period and included the development of the Social Baseline and Household Income and Expenditure Reports. We also conducted the Ecological Baseline Survey and Reporting for the project study area.
We were the lead consultant in a joint venture to prepare a comprehensive Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to assess the forestry potential of Water Management Area 12, essentially the catchments that fall into the former Transkei and smaller areas as far west as Cathcart, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The SEA was divided into a pilot SEA, which focused on a smaller area within the OR Tambo District of the former Transkei, and a second SEA covering the broader study area. This study was undertaken on behalf of the then Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. CES provided project management, specialist biophysical and socio-economic input and stakeholder engagement. This project identified zones with afforestation potential by firstly undertaking a Screening Study, followed by stakeholder involvement and fact-finding reconnaissance surveys. After the SEA scoping phase, specialist studies on social, economic, hydrological, biophysical and institutional conditions within the study area where completed. From these studies key environmental and social issues, alternative land uses, and the opportunities and constraints for forestry were identified, with the analysis being underpinned by a sustainability framework. The study culminated in a net forestry potential map that demonstrated where economically-viable forestry could be established through socially, environmentally and economically sustainable projects. A critically important output was the development of a user friendly Decision Support System designed to aid local and district municipality decision making around developing community forestry projects as a poverty alleviation strategy. Since completion, both the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have started to roll out community based forestry projects in the areas identified in the SEA as having forestry potential. This SEA was also used as one of the case studies in the SEA guidelines document prepared for the National Department of Environmental Affairs, due to the sound application of a sustainability framework in the SEA.
Enel Green Power appointed us to monitor and audit environmental compliance during the construction of four new renewable energy projects in South Africa. These projects included two new Wind Farms in the Eastern Cape Province (Gibson Bay Wind Farm close to Tsitsikamma and Nojoli Wind Farm outside Cookhouse) and two PV Solar Plants (Paleisheuvel PV Solar Plant outside Piketberg in the Western Cape Province and Tom Burke PV Solar Plant near the Botswana border in the Limpopo Province).
A full time Environmental Control Officer (ECO) was appointed to each of the four sites and was responsible for ensuring the project was compliant with all South African Environmental Legislation. The four ECO staff were overseen by a project manager who also conducted monthly audits of each site to ensure compliance.
Construction commenced in January 2014 at all four sites. Tom Burke and Paleisheuvel PV Solar Plants were completed by December 2016. Nojoli Wind Farm was completed in February 2017 and Gibson Bay Wind farm in June 2017.
The highly popular 5-day "Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment Procedures" Short Course has been presented annually since 2000 in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University. Over this 17-year period it has attracted delegates from a wide range of organisations within the private and public sector, with many government departments sending delegates each year. The course has been designed to provide delegates with a theoretical understanding of key elements of the EIA process which is then reinforced through customised practical sessions. Presenters of the course are all highly qualified and experienced and include experts from Rhodes University, CES (our company) and Imbewu (environmental legal specialists). The course is amended annually to ensure it remains aligned with the relevant legislation and feedback from delegates is considered to ensure the relevant needs are met. The course is fully accredited through Rhodes University and those delegates who successfully complete the post-course assessment task will be issued with a Certificate of Competence.
We developed a series of two-day training courses that would enhance the understanding of the implications and application of the Integrated Coastal Management Act (ICMA) in the public and private sector on behalf of the South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). The course was developed to provide a balance between theoretical aspects of the ICMA and the related practical aspects at a level that was easily accessible to delegates from a variety of sectors. The course was successfully presented in coastal provinces of the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal to over 175 delegates.