The South African mining industry is relatively mature and the focus is shifting from exploitation to rehabilitation and the need to address the mining pollution legacy produced by past mining activities. Furthermore, the social and economic wellbeing of communities is related directly to the health of the environment in which they live, produce their food and work. In addition, adequate access to sustainable, potable water sources is critical to the health of communities and for rural development and focus will be on delivering projects that address this need. Thus, business growth in the Environmental and Water function will focus on soil, water and surface pollution and the preservation of sensitive environments. The basic geoscience knowledge infrastructure and an understanding of geological processes underlie the management of all the above-mentioned environmental hazards.
The development of expertise to contribute meaningfully to the management of these processes should unlock significant business opportunities. With regard to water resource assessment and protection, field investigations within the function will focus on the physical and chemical processes associated with subsurface water bearing environments, as well as the socio-economic and institutional aspects that affect the management of these resources.