News & Publications


Digby Wells Environmental 9th Annual Sustainability Breakfast

Coinciding with the 2019 Investing in Africa Mining Indaba, the Digby Wells Environmental team hosted the prominent 9th Annual Sustainability Breakfast on Tuesday the 5th February 2019, at the Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town.

Digby Wells Environmental Non-Executive Director, Nombini Mehlomakulu, opened up the session to the breakfast highlighting Digby Wells’ South African and African growth strategies, and thanked all those involved in assisting Digby Wells in living true to the company’s mission of being the preferred partner offering Environmental and Social Services to the Resources Industry across Africa. Nombini went onto highlight Digby Wells’ international presence with offices located in Jersey, London, Mali, Botswana and more recently Tanzania, as well as Digby Wells’ office expansion plans into Cote d’Ivore and Senegal.

Introduced by Nombini, Graham Trusler, CEO of Digby Wells Environmental continued the discussion, welcoming all colleagues, well-known clients and industry leaders to the breakfast. Graham went on to showcase Digby Wells Environmental’s core competencies and global project experience, and introduced the panelists, Mr. Trevor Davids, Sasol Mining (Pty) Ltd: Senior Manager: Mine Closurer, and Advocate Tsheko Ratsheko, Exxaro Resources Limited Group Manager Environment & Licensing (Sustainability Division), both of whom presented on the topic “Maintaining your Social License to Operate”, as aligned to their respective organisations. Graham also presented on Digby Wells Environmental’s appointment on the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), in undertaking an independent RPF/RAP process on behalf of EACOP.

The presentations not only served as a means to sharing industry knowledge but also provided innovative and practical solutions to environmental and socio-economic pressures and requirements. All presentations were well received and commended by all whom attended.

The Digby Wells Environmental team gives thanks to all those who attended the 9th Annual Sustainability Breakfast (View Images), and looks forward to the 10th Digby Wells Environmental Sustainability Breakfast in 2020.

For further information, please contact Digby Wells at Digby Wells Information.  


Digby Wells Team attends the SACESHA Conference, 2019

The Digby Wells Environmental Team, Director, Danie Otto, Principal Consultant: Water Compliance, Carol Hooghiemstra, Hydrogeologist, Ayabonga Mpelwane, and CEO Graham Trusler attended the South African Colliery Environmental Safety Health Association (SACESHA) conference in Secunda. The SACESHA Conference aims to enable a greater understanding of SH&E across the South African Coal Mining Industry.

Graham Trusler delivered the Key Note address and provided insight into the Environmental issues in the Coal Mining Industry in South Africa: Developments over the past few decades. View Presentation

In addition to this, Digby Wells Environmental exhibited and showcased the company’s multidisciplinary integrated environmental and social solutions.

For more information regarding Digby Wells Environmental, please contact us at Digby Wells Information.  


Mines and Money 8th Annual Digby Wells Environmental London Dinner

The Digby Wells Environmental London Dinner, has throughout the years, brought together various key decision makers in the mineral resources industry, across Africa, to discuss, network and share innovative, practical and sustainable environmental and social solutions.

Coinciding with the Mines and Money London Conference, Digby Wells Environmental hosted, the now, 8th Annual London Dinner at Fredericks restaurant, Islington.

Attended by various role-players from industry, Graham Trusler, Digby Wells Environmental CEO, provided invaluable insight on the Sustainability scene for 2019, a Digby Wells Environmental perspective.

For more information regarding Digby Wells Environmental, please contact us at Digby Wells Information.  


Ivanplats Platreef project – Reef Intersection imminent: A massive milestone achievement

Digby Wells Environmental completed and submitted both the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plans – in support of principal consultant DRA Mineral Projects.

As part of the submission, Digby Wells conducted extensive environmental impact assessments and social impact assessments and undertook public consultations with the various stakeholders in the project area. To date, Digby Wells continues to be part of the Platreef project. Read More  


Digby Wells Environmental: Reaffirming the importance of our Heritage

Following the inauguration of the MeerKAT radio telescope by the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr David Mabuza (Read More), Digby Wells Environmental have finalised the Heritage Resources Management Process for SKA Phase 1 (Read More).

Considered in the UNESCO Tentative World Heritage Site List because of its outstanding universal value, the site-specific study area situated within the /Xam Cultural Landscape, yielded findings of tangible resources including examples of impressions of Calamites, Paracalamites, Glossopteris leaves and sphenophyte stems, lithic scatters from the Later Stone Age, Rock Art and vernacular corbelled houses (View Images).

Through completing the Heritage Resources Management Process, SARAO and Digby Wells have acknowledged and reaffirmed the importance of protecting our heritage. Read More



Digby Wells Environmental: National Biodiversity and Business Network

Digby Wells Environmental Director Danie Otto and Environmental Services Divisional Manager Barbara Wessels, attended the National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN) session in Sandton.

Mr Shonisani Munzhedzi (Deputy Director-General: Biodiversity and Conservation, Department of Environmental Affairs) spoke on the topic of Business and Biodiversity in South Africa, the Challenges and Opportunities, and stressed the global regimes commitment to the implementation of the global strategic plan on biodiversity. Dr Christiana Pasca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ms Yolan Friedmann (CEO, Endangered Wildlife Trust) and Ms Shelley Lizzio (Manager: National Biodiversity and Business Network, Endangered Wildlife Trust) contributed to the sessions with insightful and encouraging presentations on conservation, mitigation and sustainable biodiversity.

Digby Wells Environmental continues to ensure their commitment to the initiative in all projects undertaken by the team – Living true to the company’s vision of Moving from the World we live in to the World we seek.  


Digby Wells Environmental: Constructed Wetland Workshop

Attended by various Industry Specialists, Governmental Departments and Global Mining Companies alike, Digby Wells Environmental Director Danie Otto attended and formed part of the panel discussion on Constructed Wetland Applications: Domestic, Industrial, Mine and Stormwater .

The Panel Discussion was part of a Constructed Wetland workshop presented by Blue Crane Constructed Wetlands, UK based ARM Treatment Wetlands and the Chemical Engineering Department of the University of Pretoria.

The workshop proved invaluable given the insight and industry knowledge shared, further complementing and ensuring service excellence in the Digby Wells Environmental Constructed Wetland Service Offering.  


Digby Wells Environmental – Closing the Loop

Digby Wells Environmental CEO Graham Trusler, Director Danie Otto, and Water Services Divisional Manager Andre van Coller, provided insight and specialist input into what many experts believe will occur in the mining industry in the coming decade.

Written by Editor Toni Muir, one of the key aspects of the resources industry is that of Water Management, and the focus on the Resources Sector moving towards the future and era of waterless operations.

World Environment Day 2018

World Environment Day is the United Nation’s foremost day for promoting global awareness and action for the protection of our natural environment. Commencing in 1974, World Environment Day is now celebrated in over 100 countries throughout the world and serves as a platform for communities, and governments to make a pledge to take better care of the environment.

The 2018 World Environment Day is hosted by India with the main theme as “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

Plastic pollution is one of the largest environmental threats. In 2017 alone, 8.3 billion tons of plastic were produced, with only 9% of all plastics recycled. This has resulted in significant pollution of the natural environment causing large scale damage to both marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

With an ever increasing global population, more pressure is being placed on society to limit the use of plastics. World Environment Day, celebrated and acknowledged on the 5th of June 2018, aims to assist and guide Governments, Businesses and the Global Society to come up with innovative ways to beat plastic pollution.

Digby Wells Environmental supports and is proud to be part of the initiative by offering Global Sustainable Environmental Solutions.  


Earth Day 2018

This weekend, people around the world celebrated Earth Day, to spread awareness of the need for conservation and also take action to protect the environment. The theme of Earth Day 2018 is End Plastic Pollution.

“Earth Day 2018 is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behaviour about plastics,” according to Earth Day Network. The idea is to encourage people to cut down on their plastic consumption by paying a closer attention to the number of plastic items each person consumes annually and make a conscious effort to reduce the amount.

Following the April 22 celebration of Earth Day, let us be cognisant of our use of plastic. Be mindful of how our littering affects the world we live in and how as a global community, we need to do better in creating a world that is habitable for all – humans and animals alike.

Read More  


Digby Wells Environmental presents at the Annual IAIAsa Career Day

Digby Wells Environmental Legal Services Director, Lucy Koeslag will today, in association with the International Association for Impact Assessment South Africa (IAIAsa), be presenting and providing a practical EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) scenario to students at the Origin Centre, WITS University, as part of the Annual Student Career Day. Driven by Digby Wells’ vision – To move us from the world we live in to the world we seek, the career day provides ‘outstanding opportunities for interchange: to advance the science of impact assessment in applications ranging from local to global; to develop international and local capability, to anticipate, plan and manage the consequences of development; to enhance the quality of life for all’.  


Digby Wells recognizes World Wildlife Day, 03 March 2018

World Wildlife Day is a day that has been proclaimed to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild life and plants. The day was proclaimed on the 20th December 2013 at a session held by the United Nations General Assembly, which was the day of the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

World Wildlife day is celebrated on the same day in March, with is the 3rd. This year’s theme is in recognition of big cats and has been named “Big cats – predators under threat”. Big cats have always grabbed the attention of the world, through there charismatic behaviour, remarkable hunting stills, stealth and strength. From the slim cheetah to the proud lion, large cats face many threats, from reduction in habitat, conflict with humans, poaching and hunting and illegal trade. These majestic predators require and deserve protection.

Populations around the world are constantly under threat. Information extracted from the website Wildlife Day, indicates that Tiger populations have declined by 95% over the past 100 years and the African lion population dropped by 40% over the past 20 years. This is of huge concern and measures need to be implemented to protect these graceful creatures.

World Wildlife Day gives the world the opportunity to recognise these animals and raise awareness as a result of their rapid population reductions. Living true to Digby Wells’ vision of moving from the world we live in to the world we seek, this day give us the opportunity to ROAR OUT LOUD and raise awareness for these iconic species.  

Given the Green Light

Digby Wells Environmental Legal Services Director, Lucy Koeslag provided insight into the ‘Amendments to the South African mining sector’s environmental impact assessment regulations’, as written by Toni Muir, Mining Decisions.

Highlights included:

  • Among the more significant of the amendments were the changes to both NEMA and MPRDA to bring about the OES – which, Lucy notes, provides greater clarity for mining companies on the EIA processes to follow and the extent of detail required to be included in the EIA/EMP documentation;
  • In the past, separate applications for the mining right, environmental authorisation and waste-management license were submitted under three separate competent authorities with separate applications, EIA process requirements and timeframes;
  • The process now requires that the mining right and prospecting right application process be submitted simultaneously with the application for environmental authorisation, and, in certain instances, the environmental authorisation will require an integrated application, which includes the listed activities associated with waste management at the mine;
  • Noteworthy changes are also included in the National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Act 25 of 2014, which brought all tailings facilities, waste stockpiles, discard dumps, slurry ponds and so forth into the realm of waste-management licensing under the National Environmental Management Waste Act 59 of 2008, effective 2 September 2014.

The changes proposed by the bill will therefore help to consolidate and simplify the current costly and onerous environmental approval process for the mining industry and the regulation of all residue stockpiles and deposits, including those approved in terms of the MPRDA, and should also be considered for the planning and management of residue stockpiles and deposits.

Mining Decisions: Read More  


Financial Provisions Update: 2019 Deadline

With the impending 2019 Financial Provisions GNR 1147 deadline, Digby Wells Environmental Director Legal Services, Lucy Koeslag and Principal Closure Consultant, Renee van Aardt have together compiled and summarised the regulations and timeframes associated with the update. Read More

To initiate a detailed review of your financial provisions and to understand the impacts of the new requirements thus allowing sufficient time to obtain all the necessary internal and external party approvals, contact Digby Wells Environmental Digby Wells Information today.




SACESHA Conference 2018: ‘There are many inherent opportunities and strengths for the South African Coal Mining Industry. In order to exploit these assets, the Coal Mining Industry needs to continuously benchmark and achieve alignment on the industry specific SH&E objectives’.

Digby Wells Environmental Director, Danie Otto, Principal Consultant, Carol Hooghiemstra, and Mine Closure and Constructed Wetland Specialist Michelle van Niekerk, attended the annual SACESHA Conference on the 31st January 2018, and in addition to exhibiting Digby Wells full suite of services, presented on the topic of constructed wetlands for water treatment, an innovative, cost effective approach to improve water quality.

For further information on Constructed Wetlands, please contact us at Digby Wells Information  


Digby Wells Environmental Ecological Team VEGRAI Assessment Certified

Riparian Vegetation Response Assessment Index (VEGRAI) is an aspect (one of seven) of the reference ecoclassification for ecostatus determination (Ecological Category) of river and wetland habitats. The VEGRAI ecostatus classification tool, developed by Kleynhans, Mackenzie and Louw in 2007 for the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (now the Department of Water and Sanitation) and the Water Research Commission, is used to assess changes in riparian or wetland vegetation conditions.

While the tool may be used to assess the Ecological Category of an environment, the process and data are valuable in and of themselves, and the VEGRAI may be used for a qualitative assessment of the response of riparian and wetland vegetation to impacts in such a way that qualitative ratings translate into quantitative and defensible results.

The Digby Wells Environmental Aquatics, Wetlands and Fauna and Flora teams all attended a training workshop, presented by James Mackenzie, who played a key role in the development of the tool, on the use and implementation of the VEGRAI Tool in an ongoing effort to in an ongoing effort to provide invaluable insight and ecological solutions to all of our clients sustainability requirements.  


Digby Wells Environmental hosts the first West African Client Networking function

To mark the opening of the 2017 International Mali Mining and Petroleum Conference & Exhibition / Journées Minières et Pétrolières du Mali (JMP), set to take place in Bamako, Mali from the 21 – 23 November 2017, Digby Wells Environmental Mali hosted the first West African Client Networking function at the Le Fouquet, Immeuble ACI, Hamdallaye, Bamako.

Attended by various West African focused Mining Industry leaders, the evening set the tone for successful discussions around mining in terms of environmental and social sustainability. Graham Trusler, CEO of Digby Wells Environmental, who has over 30 years’ experience in industry, provided insight on how Digby Wells Environmental sees the Sustainability scene playing out in 2018. Adding to the discussions, AngloGold Ashanti, Wassoul’or, Randgold Resources and Birimian, all of whom have worked with the in-country Digby Wells Environmental Mali team, partook in the discussions by providing invaluable positive feedback surrounding the various projects that the Digby Wells Mali have been involved in, and continue to be involved in, for each of their operations throughout the years.

Inspired by the company’s vision ‘To be the preferred partner offering Environmental and Social Services to the Resources Industry with a focus on Africa, the Digby Wells Environmental Mali team are attending the JMP Mali Conference, and look forward to continuing on the evening discussions.

For more information regarding Digby Wells Environmental, please contact us at Digby Wells Information.  


National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill, 2017

The National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Bill, 2017 is said to have major impacts on the approval, management, regulation and planning procedures of various operations, particularly the mining industry.

Digby Wells Environmental Group Legal Services Director, Lucy Koeslag, provides insight into these proposed amendments as introduced into the National Assembly by the Minister of Environmental Affairs. Read More

For further information, or assistance contact Lucy Koeslag


Digby Wells Environmental Botswana Launch

As acknowledged by the Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Securities Minister Sadique Kebonang, the Digby Wells Environmental Botswana official launch and partnership announcement between RPM and Digby Wells Environmental, was held on the 23rd February 2017 at the AVANI Gaborone Resort & Casino.

Attended by various industry professionals and key role players, Mr Graham Trusler, CEO Digby Wells Environmental, and Mr Richard Arthey, Country Manager Botswana communicated that the beneficial transaction and partnership ensured that Digby Wells met Botswana legal requirements and that the transaction would provide current and potential clients the best in local service and international best practice.

Commenting on the launch, Tlotlo Lemmenyane, of the SundayStandard, stated that the mettle of the mining industry faltered with the vulnerability of the global economy but there are some who still see opportunities in this industry and Digby Wells Environmental counts itself as one of them. View article.


Digby Wells continues to contribute towards the education and development of our youth

Living true to the company’s vision of moving from the world we live in, to the world we seek, Digby Wells continues to contribute towards the education and development of our youth in the countries in which we operate. Digby Wells had, in 2015, launched the company’s first bursary programme by awarding four bursaries to academic students within South Africa and Mali. The students had their study fees and books fully paid for and in addition gained first hand practical work experience during the year, when, during semester breaks shadowed our in-house specialists who provide sustainable environmental and social solutions to Digby Wells’ multinational client base. During the course of the 2016 academic year, Digby Wells Environmental bursars excelled in their studies: -

  • Manisha Nana, who was originally awarded the Digby Wells Bursary in the 2015 academic year as a 2nd year student studying towards a BSc in Environmental Science through the University of Witwatersrand has now completed her BSC with an overall average of 80%. Manisha will be pursuing her Honours degree this year.
  • Modiegi Monaledi, who was awarded a bursary for the 2016 academic year at the University of Johannesburg, studying towards her BSc Environmental Sciences, achieved an overall average of 78%. Modiegi will be pursuing her Honours degree in Geography this year.
  • Aamirah Dramat who was awarded a bursary for the 2016 academic year at the University of Cape Town, studying towards BSc degree in Environmental and Geographical Sciences and Applied Biology achieved 72%.
  • Soumaila Traore who was originally awarded the Digby Wells Bursary in the 2015 academic year, studying towards an MSc degree in Environmental Management has completed his MSc degree. Soumaila will be joining the Digby Wells Environmental Mali team in the coming year as an intern.

Digby Wells Environmental will be announcing the Bursary application outcomes for the 2017 academic in due course and wishes the current and new Digby Wells Team Members all the best for their studies in 2017.


A first for Digby Wells, a first for South Africa

The High Conservation Value (HCV) approach is a widely used certification that was developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). HCV’s can be defined as: “Biological, ecological, social or cultural values considered to be of outstanding significance at the national, regional or global scale and which require special protection for their maintenance and/or enhancement.” (HCV Resource Network, 2015).

Digby Wells has worked on a number of HCV assessments in Central and West Africa, we have recently submitted the first greenfields HCV assessment by a South African company for the Natural Habitats Oil Palm Concession in Sierra Leone. The site is located adjacent to the Gola Rainforest National Park, a biodiversity hotspot and protected area. The area supports habitat for Red Data listed plants, animals and aquatic species and provides a suite of invaluable ecosystem services.

An HCV is a necessary requirement for certification with the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil and requires that the lead assessor is accredited by the HCV Network. Not only do Digby Wells provide all of the required biophysical and social specialist studies for the HCV assessment, but team members can lead the HCV assessment process. Having an accredited HCV Assessor in-house, Digby Wells can: • conduct assessments to identify HCVs in proposed and existing agricultural or forestry developments; • provide auditing services to make sure that HCVs on their property or project area are sustained and monitored; and • ensure the correct internationally accepted field methodologies are conducted for all specialist surveys.