In order to protect life, ensure safety and protect company assets, anyone engaged to provide security services in the mining sector needs to be mindful of the unique security challenges. For example, there are a host of safety issues, including hazards, potential injuries and damage, which need to be addressed.

One must also be aware of and manage issues such as site-access compliance, including company inductions, accommodation camp management, emergency response and so on. External to the day-to-day running of the operation, one must also plan for, monitor and manage issues such as threats to the operation from a wide variety of people ranging from environmental groups through to potential terrorist threats, as well as managing any number of confrontations that can erupt between internal and external groups on any given day.

The first step in managing site security issues is to identify and assess all risk factors applicable to the individual site. Once the identification process is complete, a specific site-security plan is developed as a resource document to illustrate the objectives, strategies and responsibilities required to meet the site’s safety, health and security goals. While the provision of security involves carefully designed systems, processes and technology, it is primarily about people.

An experienced security team can assist in the maintenance of a safety culture, reduce expenditure due to theft and control access to ensure only authorised personnel can enter a site. These tasks are all vital to achieving the objectives set in the site-security plan. Any successful security plan for a mining environment must incorporate a comprehensive site-security training program. Staff must also be given appropriate risk management training as well as the tools needed for identifying hazards and taking the appropriate action when such hazards are discovered.

One must also include provisions for the control of access points through appropriate systems and procedures while also putting in place effective communication and customer service procedures, which include conflict resolution processes and strategies to avoid escalation.