Addressing security threats to the mining industry

By | 2020-02-26T11:19:11+00:00 February 28th, 2020|

Quantifying the risks involved when exploring for, and exploiting mineral deposits is by necessity an expert field, but how can mining companies mitigate these risks?

In November 2019, gunmen attacked a convoy near a Canadian-owned mining site in Burkina Faso, killing at least 37 people and wounding 60 others. Image credit: Wall Street Journal

In November 2019, gunmen attacked a convoy near a Canadian-owned mining site in Burkina Faso, killing at least 37 people and wounding 60 others. Image credit: Wall Street Journal

“Generally speaking, your first step is to identify the risks and to stop ignoring them. When an incident such as what we have seen recently in Burkina Faso occurs, the industry says the risks have increased. The risks have not increased; they’ve just been ignored.

For many years, reliable analysis on Burkina Faso has been providing assessments and security recommendations that have been ignored. To date, there were about 460 attacks that are suspected to have been perpetrated by militants in Burkina Faso in 2019. Out of these, 10 attacks targeted established and artisanal mining sites. Additionally, three attacks targeted mining convoys over the course of the year.

“The risks have not increased; they’ve just been ignored.”

“The Semafo attack further highlights the important volatility witnessed in Burkina Faso’s Est Region, where armed bandits and militants operate relatively unhindered due to the shortcomings of the local security apparatus. The attack reflects the inefficiency of the measures taken by the authorities,” said Charles Dumbrille, president of the Mining Security Working Group.

Predictability

“You’re talking [about] the old-fashioned security around access control: the safety of the staff and the safety of the products, all those things that need to be built in. But then you have the additional security issues which need to be overcome regarding getting your work force in and out of that facility.

“People aren’t stupid. They know for a fact that for you to get to that facility, the only way you’re going to do it is either fly everybody in by helicopter, which is very expensive, or they’ll land at the airport, they will drive from point A to point B, and they always swap around their staff. They know that at certain times they’re going to move from point A to point B along that road, between these times; that makes them vulnerable, because if you’re predictable in what you’re doing, predictability makes you vulnerable,” said Martin Taylor, associate director at security firm AKE International.

Source: BizCommunity – Mining News Africa