Security in mining, how protected are resources?

We all know how valuable resources are. Dependent on the market and the overall supply and demand of primary industries, paired with socioeconomic and geopolitical factors, some resources and minerals are far more valuable than others. One week coal can be worth gold and the next week copper can be worth diamonds. The things we extract from the earth can determine the economic buoyancy of countries, the direction of nations and can even be responsible for the starting of wars and/or tense diplomatic meetings. The worth of mines and their monetary depth possess enough to dramatically influence the lives of millions and even the immediate future of the world. Hence why it’s no surprise they’re safety and security is a pretty significant factor.

So, how do we keep arguably the world’s most valuable commodities secure? 

The obvious thing to point out is the fact that a lot of resources need to extracted, broken down and processed before they’re turned into a commodity we buy and sell like oil, to some extent, or copper. Their face value doesn’t present an immediate need to secure their well being from outside parties. While saying this, all major mining sites do require one form or another of protective protocol, whether it be in the form of technology or personnel. Sites that source valuables like diamonds or even gold need immediate, security personnel and technological protocol to ensure their safety and protection, given their immediate worth and life-changing value. If your hands were to fall in possession of say a diamond, and a big one, the numbers in your bank account would increase sevenfold and so too your livelihood.

Let’s take a look at a number of security products available and processes that mining companies employ to safeguard their assets:

Explosion protected cameras

Tech based security tools in mine sites come with their obstacles. With dust, extreme heat, UV radiation, humidity and at times a lack of sufficient electrical supply, it can be hard to install cameras effectively. Security isn’t just in place to stop robbery, it’s to capture any moment or document any information that might explain a drop in production or give insight into the cause of accidents. Fortunately, we’re now blessed with the explosion protected cameras. Catering to a number of the aforementioned obstacles, explosion protected cameras are now available on the market. They come encased in stainless steel housings and are capable of recording HDTV resolution image quality. They are designed to withstand areas susceptible to flammable liquids, vapours, gases or combustible elements, all the while recording footage. The company leading the way in this technology and innovation is the British group Oxalis a security solutions firm.

C3 Perimeter Security Solutions

South Africa, and parts of Africa as we all know are home to diamonds, and subsequently diamond mines. Many of them are not so easy to enter either. Resembling that of entering a high security prison, more often than not you have to pass several secure and bolted entrances partnered with armed guards, declare all belongings and possessions, before entering. Diamonds present immediate worth, Once you have one, you’ve got a lottery ticket of some degree. Catering to this notion, recent developments has led to extremely sensitive perimeter breach technology, which initiates alarms when unauthorised or unexplained persons breach off-limit areas, even in total darkness. Not necessarily a new idea or innovation, however the technology, patented by company C3, present at a number of African based mining sites have been heavily refined to increase accuracy and vigilance when operating. Working to keep unauthorised opportunists from seizing valuables.

Video Analytics

CCTV and security is great. But think for a moment about the world’s richest diamond mine, the Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana. This mine is responsible for producing 10.6 million diamond carats per year, or 2,100 kilograms. A site inundated with vast wealth. Ensuring the security of this site would be more than imperative. Fortunately, today there is more than just CCTV footage available on the market. CCTV is great for the fact it records the day to day occurrences. However, unless you have a highly vigilant and studious security officer monitoring all screens at once, more or less they’re a reflective tool in nature. They’re handy to look back after the fact of events that require investigating. New video analytic technology, available in a number of CCTV systems, allow for the recognition and subsequent alert of intruders and suspect activity to security teams. It will alert relevant security personnel of a break in or suspicious behavior, allowing them to respond accordingly, mitigating risk for the mine and ensuring site protection. Developments in video analytics allow for the ongoing and sustainable integrity of security within mining sites, not just the recording of day to day happenings. Aventura is leading supplier of innovative analytic video recording solutions.

Security Forces

Some mines are located in dangerous areas. Consider some of the oil heavy regions in the middle-east for example, of which are present strategic importance to whoever occupies their distribution powers. This highlights the need for on site security personnel, and why their presence is important. Over the past few years alone, numerous mining regions have fallen victim to dangerous attacks, prompting the need for trained armed personnel to be present. Subsequently, many of the diamond and gold mines in Africa, and throughout the world, even including Australia, have fully armed and trained combat specialists present to deter and cater to potential threats. While this form of security measure doesn’t lend itself to notions of innovation, specialist mining security personnel are now trained in specific encounters and scenarios relative to the uniqueness of mine sites and their operations. Security firms like ISOG are leading the way in mining site armed security, contracted to numerous mining projects throughout the world.

The technology outlined in this article isn’t necessarily what would be considered new  However, the refining, development and execution of their capabilities have enabled them with greater power and influence over the security operations of mining sites. Mining sites mean big money. And implementing procedures and protocol is highly important in order for companies to protect their valuable resources and commodities for multiple threats. Given mining is synonymous with innovation, we will no doubt experience more developments and progress in the security and maintenance of mines. Currently, however, there are many impressive products and solutions available on the market to ensure optimum security within the mining sector, no matter the resource nor the location.

This article was brought to you by Sublime Technologies, a leading supplier in CCTV and security solutions.