Security in Mining
June 9, 2014
Security in Mining—Finding the Right Security Partnership Makes All the Difference
The mining industry in South Africa is under pressure. With a decrease in demand for certain minerals, soaring production costs and disruptive industrial action, mining companies are fighting to survive. Security, it must be said, is often the toughest challenge mine management faces today.
“The destabilisation wrought by strikes and a negative perception of mines in the media often devolves into significant security issues,” says Jenny Reid, CEO of iFacts and chair of the African Mine Security Summit, held in early April 2014 in Johannesburg.
“Security is the linchpin of successful mine operations,” she adds. “It plays an important part in protecting the integrity of a mining company and the safety of people working at the mine.”
Furthermore, the summit raised the issue of crime and corruption affecting mining houses. “What is clear is that mining brands are focusing on security in a robust manner,” Reid says. “For many, that means working with respected security consultants to develop pre-emptive strategies. These strategies must be active and ongoing rather than reactive or a form of damage control.”
Comprehensive security solutions
Some of the issues mining companies face are illegal workers, corruption in senior personnel, theft and even organised crime affecting this sector. “To mitigate risk, companies need to use intelligent and comprehensive security solutions,” she says. “It is important to look at potential risks both internally and externally.”
As a security company aimed removing people risks within South African organisations, iFacts had worked with mining clients to meet their increasingly complex security needs. “We understand better than most the many ways a security breach can hurt a reputation, disrupt operations and cut into profits,” Reid says.
“From background checks and investigations, from HR climate surveys to access control and biometrics, we are closely involved in each security sphere to optimise the protection of mine assets, including the most important asset in any organisation—its people,” she explains.
Time: An All-Important Fact in Managing Risks
iFacts is at the cutting edge of the security evolution in South Africa; a growing trend is to offer an Integrated Risk Management package to mines, Reid points out. This includes services such as Human Resources (HR), and Operational and Technology Risk Solutions. Time and valuable intel are crucial factors in mitigating risk.
“For mines, logging and incident accurately and in a short space of time is critical,” she says. “Management can limit operational risks by using a system that will swiftly disseminate information to those who need it in order to make informed decisions.”
Serve People, Protect Assets
While each mine has a different operational environment, all share a common principle. The health and safety of people in the mine remains the priority of occupational health and safety (OHS) and safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) managers at all times.
“With the poor administration of legislation and a disregard of prescriptive legislation, some companies tend to overlook OHS issues,” she says. “Working with the right security partner offers benefits in terms of audits to ensure a mine confirms to current laws.”
Risks – Inside and Out
The consequence of a workplace accident can be far reaching and could have a reputational and financial impact on a mine, Reid adds. However, it is equally important for mining companies to protect company assets in order to ensure sustainability. “Mining has a myriad of complex security needs,” Reid believes. “In order to manage risks, we need to look at internal and external threats more closely.”
External threats, she goes on to say, include natural disasters, illegal miners, contract or tender fraud, as well as failure to comply with regulation. “Exposing the mine to a non-compliance risk when legal requirements change is something mining companies need to be aware of,” she says.
Often the greatest risks come from inside the mining company. “Hazards inside the mine, theft of equipment, fraud and changes to internal systems can pose a threat to the company,” Reid says.
Screening miners and operational employees is often a multifaceted and complex task for mines. Reid suggests a combination of physical and technological checks to protect a company against theft. “This could include biometric access to controlled or high security areas, as well as screening of senior professionals on the mine to promote ethical behaviour and prevent coercion or bribery,” she says.
Safeguarding SA’s economic future
For mining houses, finding a security consultancy or forming a partnership with security specialists makes for a smoother operational strategy. In this regard, iFacts aims to provide comprehensive levels of protection so that its clients can continue mining in a manner that upholds stringent moral and ethical standards.
“The mineral and resource sector can play a critical role in stabilising South Africa’s economy,” Reid says. “In other parts of the world, a strong mining sector bolsters a country against the flux of world markets. That’s why it’s so important to protect our own industry with best security practices and innovative solutions to our current problems,” she concluded.
iFacts removes the people risk so that organisations can go about their business with employees they can trust. iFacts has a range of services that extend into every aspect of proactive and reactive security activity, which a company requires for optimum employee performance, loyalty and integrity. From people risk, ethics and integrity to safety and security and employee wellness, iFacts offers a full range of services to both individuals and employees that will ensure your organisation is achieving optimum performance.
Issued by Write Scene on behalf of iFacts
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