South Africa’s mining sector has, in many ways, been the backbone to our economy and attracts valuable foreign investments to South Africa. According to Stats SA’s data, the mining sector contributes approximately R226,2 billion (roughly 13,5 billion US dollars) to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The mining industry is, however, a high priority and an easy target for criminal attacks, both from internal and external criminal elements. The increasing criminal attacks and high losses experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdown periods highlighted the need for an increased focus on and renewal of the methodologies used to secure mines.
The application of risk assessments, which are focused on identifying threats, vulnerabilities and risks to mine assets, addresses the core service deliverables. This incorporates various physical security measures including appropriate intelligent perimeters, functional and practical access control facilities controlled through electronic access control systems. Additionally, continuous surveillance through task-specific CCTV and surveillance systems, are monitored to ensure timely intervention to breaches and the support of skilled security resources to action policies and procedures.
The recent development and improvement of technology, specifically the use of drones as a force multiplier, artificial intelligence (AI) driven surveillance platforms and the application of traditional security systems through integrated video management system (VMS) platforms, allows for improved security execution as a collaborative ecosystem.
While these security measures address the risks and vulnerabilities posed by crime actors, there is still a need for a proactive focus on identifying and addressing these threat/crime actors outside of the normal security protocols.
It has been proven that the first step to combat criminal activities is, undoubtedly, the gathering of information. Investigators trace and apprehend suspects who are involved in organised crime, theft of stock and minerals, illegal operations and fraud. The accurate and proactive implementation of an information gathering function, aligned to and within the ambit of the law, supported by an accurate data analyst capability, allows for a proactive approach to preventing criminals to execute criminal attacks. Sound intelligence leads to proactive planning and coordination and in return lowers the opportunity and risk of serious incidents.
The ability to implement ‘contactless’ security through the use of technology, including drones, smart fences, intelligent alarms and proactive AI-driven analytics is the future of and has been proven multiple times at mines in various regions by Bidvest Protea Coin.
A well-developed security solution philosophy is to successfully support clients in technology, people and processes. Various tried and tested technologies need to be deployed in order to enable operational teams to deter, detect, delay, deny and ultimately defend.
A well-rounded mining security service should include:
• Experienced security management specialists, continuously driving innovation in process and infrastructure improvement.
• Security operational plans, based on global best practices, risk and task appropriate standards and objectives (standard operating procedures).
• Experienced, skilled and motivated security officers.
• Physical security mitigation measures including appropriate fences, access control points, physical structures and lockable facilities.
• Technology-driven proactive and automated procedures.
• Appropriately designed, equipped and a manned operations centre, applying AI-driven monitoring and control.
• Well trained and experienced response capabilities supported by aerial surveillance (drones) as a force multiplier.
• In-house investigations and information resources, tasked with collaboration with law enforcement and crime prevention forums.
• Electronic incident logging and analytics resources to drive proactive and preventative operational planning and execution.
• Management support to enable security to contribute to productivity, profitability and ultimately shareholder value.
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