We are very proud to announce the introduction of a new range of AquaSens sensors for monitoring key parameters on tailings storage facilities.  After recent catastrophic failures at a number of tailings dams in Brazil, our mining clients have taken a proactive approach and asked us to convert their current manual methods of measurement to real-time monitoring.  The Retrofit Piezometer (RFP) is the first in a suite of new sensors from Groundwork to enable real-time and remote monitoring of key parameters on tailings dams.  Other products, which will integrate with the RFP to obtain a better understanding of the entire water mass balance of a tailings storage facility, are currently under development.

Retrofit Piezometer:

Prov. Pat. No 2020/04482

The Retrofit Piezometer (RFP) measures, records and transmits the level of water in a standpipe.  By using multiple RFP’s, the change in level of the phreatic surface can be monitored in real-time.  An RFP can be installed within minutes into a standpipe containing an existing standpipe piezometer to achieve real-time monitoring.  The data can be viewed from anywhere using any internet connected device and high and low water levels trigger alarms can be sent via sms and email.

Innovative features embodied in the RFP include immediate notification should there be any unauthorised tampering with the RFP.  Should the electronics module be remove without first disarming the RFP, GPS tracking will commence and the location coordinates will be sent to pre-programmed cellphone numbers at regular intervals.

RockWatch is a range of high definition sensors for measuring displacement to micron accuracy. The displacement sensor, battery, logging capability and wireless communications module are all contained within a small (200 mm x 30 mm diameter) sealed housing. Housings are available for underground applications (Closure Loggers) as well as surface (Crack Loggers) and borehole applications (Extensometers).

Closure Loggers are used in mining excavations and tunnels up to heights of 6.5 m to quantify closure profiles and to identify the onset on instability through highly precise monitoring

Crack loggers:

Range: 100 mm
Resolution: 0.025 mm
Sampling rate: 1 minute
On-board memory: Yes
Battery life: Min 18 months
Disturbance indicator: Yes
Data extraction: Data Grabber (up to 70 m) or GeoLink wireless network


The range of extensometers which is available worldwide is bewildering. Groundwork has acquired a deep understanding of the many types of extensometer which are available to enable us to recommend the most appropriate instrument for your application. Please contact us with details of your project and we will gladly advise you on which type of extensometer to use.

Other Instrumentation

Groundwork specialises in designing instrumentation and monitoring systems to solve bespoke stability problems in the field. Although we have supplier preferences, such as Solexperts, due to the proven performance of their products in our projects, we do not represent any specific suppliers but source from the most appropriate supplier worldwide for the application. Some examples of the instrumentation that we supply to clients on a regular basis are:

  • Closure Robots (telltales for early warning of rock falls)
  • Borehole cameras for depth ranges from 10 m to 600 m
  • Displacement measurement
  • Rock bolt and cable anchor load measurement
  • Pull testing equipment
  • Stress measurement and monitoring cells
  • Piezometers
  • Borehole extensometers for all applications
  • Data logging, telemetry and manual reading options for all types of instrumentation
  • High precision borehole probes

Best geotechnical sensing technology for local conditions

Analytics software, The Cloud, The Internet of Things – we now live in a world where data acquisition and analysis in real-time is not only a reality but also a necessity.  At Groundwork, we have tapped into these game-changing technologies, partnering with some of the best international developers, to create a new range of highly innovative geotechnical sensing solutions. These are unique offerings, specifically designed for the demanding requirements of the harsh Southern African mining environment.

2020 has seen Groundwork invest considerably in accelerating our product development programme to enable:

  1. Data from all our new sensors to be acquired and viewed from any internet connected device in real-time using our GeoLink data acquisition and visualisation products.
  2. Sensors for monitoring displacements to micron resolution in harsh mining environments, both underground and on surface, using our RockWatch range of displacement sensors.
  3. Expanding our offering of real-time sensing technologies to applications for tailings dams using our all new AquaSens range!

We are privileged to have access to some of the best technology and developers in the world, which has enabled us to emerge from this year not only stronger than before, but also much more technology focussed.  And not just any technology … but the best global geotechnical sensing technology for the harshest of local conditions.  These are highly innovative products with many unique features not available from any products overseas.

Although we are becoming more technology focussed, our core business philosophy has not changed.  We remain firmly rooted in the business of geotechnical consulting, using data generated from our unique sensing technologies to solve our clients problems.  We look forward to introducing further innovative geotechnical sensing solutions to the market during 2021.