The extraction of geological materials and minerals from the earth supplies key ingredients and components for many industrial activities and products that are pivotal to the global economy. However, due to factors such as volatile commodity prices, climate change and the intention to reduce carbon footprints, mining companies are facing increasing challenges when it comes to implementing new technologies, maintaining regulatory compliance and managing climate and social issues.
Owing to its specialist water-cycle and environmental-management capabilities, RSK can provide robust and complete environmental services throughout the entire mining life cycle to assist mining and exploration companies to flexibly adapt to the changing market conditions.
We collaborate with clients in this sector to help them to solve their practical, day-to-day issues and to develop long-term strategies for growth. Cost-reduction, community and sustainability strategies, environmental and social impact assessments and wastewater and remediation are just a few of the areas in which we offer solutions.
A snapshot of our services
RSK’s mining-specialist companies: GCS and Amphos 21, employ the intensive and research-focused expertise of more than 200 engineers, drillers and scientists. Thus, we can offer extensive and pivotal services to a global mining marketplace. Working primarily in Europe, Africa and South America, our companies and teams offer a wide breadth of mining hydrology, environmental geochemistry, geotechnical and geophysical services.
These services include understanding and monitoring water interaction with mining components; acid rock drainage and metal leaching; hydrobiological remediation; contamination management; detailing environmental liabilities; process optimisation; and wastewater treatment, permitting and procedures.
To complement its specialist capabilities, the RSK group has decades of industry experience in producing environmental and social impact assessments for clients across a range of countries and sectors.
We have recently begun using mine water for heat and energy in horticulture, manufacturing and other industries through group company Ground Heat, which specialises in technology that extracts heat from the ground
Unique attributes to offset client challenges
Despite being a fast-growing company, RSK retains its core business strategy that has enabled it to outstrip competitors: the ability to provide both consultancy and contracting solutions.
For the mining sector, we offer a combination of hydrogeological and geochemical expertise, a powerful mix that is also unique in the marketplace.
We know that mining companies seek to achieve regulatory consent and to increase the profitability of their operations, irrespective of where they operate. Issues that can drastically affect a mine’s output and its profitability include halted operations due to water-cycle problems and conflicts between regulatory compliance objectives and operational profitability.
Our diversified global offering in the fields of climate change, renewables, wastewater, remediation and environmental and social impact assessments gives us the knowledge and capability to provide solutions that address these issues, resolve them, and thus enable mines to successfully continue their operations.
Looking to the future
As climate change moves to the forefront of many worldwide agendas, RSK has built an offering to help clients with a multitude of climate-change-related issues, from reducing dependence on volatile fuel prices and insecure supplies to offsetting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing carbon footprints and helping businesses engage in the emerging carbon economy.
As a part of this process, we can produce energy audits and devise strategies that use our many years of industry experience in evaluating renewable energy projects (hydroelectric, solar and wind).
When it comes to integrating renewable energy, we help plan, implement and control systems; provide greenhouse gas accounting; and offer the financial analysis and valuation of renewable energy schemes.
For further details on how we can add value to your mine and on the specific services we provide throughout the mine’s life cycle, please see the expertise section below.
Mining hydrology and environmental geochemistry
Our expertise in this area includes exploring brine deposits to estimate lithium resources and conceptual and numerical modelling to estimate lithium reserves and resources. Our desk-based teams facilitate designing, implementing and operating packed-in salt flats exploration.
We help clients to develop conceptual and numerical models in porous and fractured media. Our teams are experienced in monitoring and controlling water resources; water balance and recharge estimation; mine dewatering, hydrochemistry and contamination studies; and managing mine waste.
Water interaction with mining components
Our teams can simulate and predict water flows and the quality of the life cycle of mining components (open pits, underground mines, waste and tailings deposits). We are also trained in integrated water-management plans and overseeing the drainage of open-pit and underground mines. We are experienced in hydraulic engineering and geotechnical and hydraulic instrumentation.
Acid rock drainage and metal leaching (ARD-ML)
ARD-ML is a common issue for many mining operations and it can have significant negative impacts on the environment if it is not adequately mitigated. RSK experts are trained in managing environmental liabilities and hazardous mining waste; for example, characterising contaminated sites and the corresponding environmental liabilities and undertaking quantitative risk analysis of the environment. We can then devise strategies and implement remediation measures for dealing with ARD-ML. We provide efficient engineering designs under hydrogeochemical criteria for debris and tailings deposits.
Remediation and contamination management and environmental liabilities
RSK’s remediation services cover the complete life cycle of remediation, including characterisation and design; engineering, procurement and construction management; and operation and post-monitoring.
Process optimisation and wastewater treatment
RSK can optimise strategies and identify opportunities in the water cycle and evaluate and optimise processes in acid-water-treatment plants. We undertake geochemical evaluations of tailings dams and evaluate the management and processes for optimising leaching pads. We offer other services relating to desalination and mine-water treatment.
Geotechnical and geophysical services
Our teams can undertake geophysical surveys for geological mapping and mineshaft detection. Our specialists are experienced in using a variety of geophysical survey techniques, including seismic reflection and refraction for determination of the rockhead, stratigraphical succession and rock quality determination, microgravity surveying, resistivity tomography and electromagnetic ground conductivity.
RSK can help with producing mine-closure plans and evaluating the hydrological and chemical stability of components. We can waterproof and seal underground galleries and evaluate encapsulation, coverage and revegetation systems. We can provide hydraulic infrastructures, water management and treatment systems and have experience in developing passive treatments. Our desk-based specialists can research sustainable closure alternatives and estimate closure costs.
Permitting and procedures
Several RSK companies are expert in environmental baseline studies and permitting. Additionally, we support technical reports, statements and environmental impact studies for environmental monitoring. We can also facilitate acquiring water rights, files and letters of relevance.
Environmental and social impact assessments
RSK employs experts with extensive experience of developing and managing environmental, social and cultural heritage impact assessments to international standards. These include International Finance Corporation performance standards, World Bank Equator Principles and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development performance requirements.
RSK’s service offering includes remote sensing, instrumentation and automatisation and implementing new technologies, including Building Information Modelling (BIM).