Security specialist assists African mines

Security specialist assists African mines

South African company Group 4 Securicor (G4S) is fast becoming the mining industry’s service provider of choice for integrated security solutions on the African continent, the firm reports. In South Africa, G4S is one of the country’s leading providers ofsecurity solutions to all categories of mines, with equally substantial operations on mines in Angola, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria and Tanzania, and this list of African countries is growing on almost a monthly basis, says GM Andre Fourie.

The company has a national and international infrastructure, is listedin London and employs 360 000 people in 102 countries, including16 000 employees in South Africa.

The company was created from the merger of Securicor and Group 4 Falck, says communications and marketing manager, says, Innocentia Mangena. ”Our experience in the mining industry all over Africa enables us to improve service performance for customers and boost financialperformance for the organisation and its shareholders,” says Mangena.

”G4S is emphatically unambi-guous towards its stance that it will not be aligned to any party in conflict areas in Africa, or where we provide security options at mines,” he adds.

The company focuses on the needs of its customers, considers itself an expert in integrated security solutions and knows what makes a difference, says Fourie G4S also has absolute integrity in what it does, which means that customers get the service they demand and the business gets the profit performance it requires, he adds.

The company’s complete focus is on integrated security solutions and includes Security Services (including Manned Security and Multi Services), Security Systems (Monitoring and Response) and Cash Services.

The company’s operational strategyfor the mining industry is influenced by the type of mine in question.

A point of departure for G4S was to categorise the industry into base metal mines, coal mines, gold mines, platinum mines, diamond mines and precious metals refineries.

In these mining categories there are a number of similar risks with similar modus operandi and similarprotection requirements.

Base-metal and coal mines can be compared closely to most heavy industrial and manufacturing environments, says Fourie.

The most significant differencesare related to the product and processes.

Ten years ago, products such as chrome and vanadium were not in high demand.

However, with the increase ininternational demand for thesemetals most of the base metals are now at risk of theft, he says.

Further, owing to the value of the products and processes, the criminalmodus operandi differs vastly from that experienced by precious metalsmines, diamond mines and refineries.

One aspect which has become a common risk at all mines is theinvolvement of key personnel ofthe mine and security shifts withorganised crime syndicates.

With the improvement andupgrading of security measures andfrequent security audits of storeprocedures, theft of the mines’ prime products has become almost impossible.

Further, the implementation of a security policy in the mining industry is of equal importance to the health and safety policy.

G4S regards security responsibilities and accountability as such an important issue that it ought to be included in job descriptions of line managers at mines, says Fourie. Mangena says that G4S provides uniformed, manned securityteams and reception services across a wide range of markets, includingmining.

Other security operation servicesinclude heavy industry, gamingand leisure, ports and harbours, the motor industry, financial institutions, the petrochemicals industry, cashmanagement, retail and warehousing, aviation, residential and golf estates, and commercial properties.

The experience the companyobtained in the mining industry has resulted in the increased use ofsecurity technology, supported by mobile task teams, and a reduction in static guarding.

Application of high-tech equipment such as Gold Finger Metal Detection ArchIX-Ray equipment, ”˜fingerprinting’ of precious metalsand active security awareness programmes has brought about an across-the-board limitation on theft in the mining industry.

Security teams placed at the mines participate in all relevant forums in that specific mine to make management aware of the risks in specific areas, says Fourie.

Informer networks and dedicated investigators are part the of solution to risk and so the company appoints security managers and investigators who understand these intricacies and have knowledge of the applicable mining sector.

Other methods used to restrict crime in the mining industry are specific niche training, frequent sweeps of metallurgical plants, covert infiltrators at high-risk work areas, vehicle monitoring and tracking of bullion vehicles.

”In general, the company applies a ”˜Fort Knox’ approach to ultra-high-risk areas at precious-metal mines and refineries although we make sure it does not interfere with the in-house security of the mine,” says Fourie. The company’s reputation for quality in the guarding sector is based both on its extensive employeescreening processes and the high level of training provided, he says. The firm provides a range of securitysystems to the private and public sectors, including physical securityand electronic security.

These systems are becomingincreasingly linked. While demandfor electronic security systems is growing, in most cases these systemsstill require the presence, on site or remotely, of security officers.

The company meets customers’ demands for a complete security solution with flexible combinations of manned and electronic security elements which are customised for specific needs.

After an assessment of customer requirements, designing and installing effective intruder alarm systems, ranging from a single-site system to fully integrated and networked alarm systems covering multiple locations, commence.

The design, installation, maintenance and monitoring of intruder alarms, access control biometrics and CCTV to the specific requirement of mines are provided by a subsidiary of the company.

Among other mining-industry-specific solutions, the company provides on-site or remote alarm and access control monitoring through manned control-room facilities in the mining sector.

These facilities are designed to de-tect and manage a range of incidents,such as criminal acts, unauthorised access and fire emergency servicealerts.

Working in partnership withleading financial institutions and retailers, G4S provides outsourced cash services, transportation and ATM services in the miningindustry, among other services, and is seen as a leading provider of cash services in Europe, withservices extending to Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

”The company is a global leaderin cash services, including cash processing and the local and inter-national transportation of othermining valuables,” says Mangena.

This includes providing systems to drive and support service delivery,and transporting valuables, such as precious metals and diamonds, through the company’s internal valu-ables transport business unit. The expertise of G4S in these services enables it to meet a wide range of customer needs, including processing and transportation, and ATM replenishment for financial institutions and retailers.

”We do not want to fully disclose what we provide for the miningindustry, owing to potential risk we might experience,” he says.

”However, we take extensive precautions moving mine valuables.” The company boasts extensive of the provision of security servicesto the mining industry in South Africa as well as security solutions for some of the world’s, and South Africa’s, leading public and private organisations.

For example, it provides securityservices for some of the highest profile embassies, government depart-ments, major airlines, financial insti-tutions, retail chains and key events.

Working in partnership with clients, its services are designed to meet the security needs of itscustomers, reducing risk and enab-ling them to focus on their coreactivities.

Fourie says that the company’s services are comprehensive andencompass services from a single security officer or an intruder alarm, through to securing major events or implementing complex accesscontrol systems.

The company’s expertise, global reach and attention to local service quality generates the flexibility its customers expect, Fourie says.

One important aspect in the changed attitude of the firm regarding its employees is that it does not see them merely as guards.

The company refers to employeesas security officers.

During the recent strike action experienced in the security industry,the company was able to continue to provide the mining industry with the service that is expected from it, says Mangena.

This was due to a number of reasons of which the most important is the quality of employees.

Another reason is that the com-pany came to a favourable agreement with most of its workforce, before the strike action began, she says.

Mangena adds that it is the globalpooling of contemporary knowledgeand expertise, coupled with the South African propensity for hard work and delivery, which places G4S in a league apart in the securitysector in South Africa.

”In short, we set the industry benchmarks to which the rest of the security sector players mustaspire,” she says.

The company’s in-house training centres are accredited by the PrivateSecurity Industry Regulatory Authority which means that allsecurity personnel are trained to legal requirements in industrial safety, first aid and basic fire fighting.

Emphasis is placed on health and safety issues because the securityofficer is, most of the time, first toarrive at an accident.

Personnel undergo additionalspecialist and client-specific training,including site-specific procedures and public relations.

”The company has a rich heritageof service excellence in South Africa which has been jealously nurtured for decades. We are extremely proud to be South African, and yet ableto draw on the wealth of technological and human expertise available to us through our membership of the global G4S family,” says Mangena.

Fourie emphasises that consultancyand risk audit surveys of key risk areas are fundamental to the securitysolution in the mining industry and all standard practices related to site procedures, standards and objectives, recruitment and training are tailored for specific mining oper-ations and processes.

He says: ”The underlying aspect of security is the risk audit survey. Too many security companies do not assess risks as broadly as G4S does and do not provide fully integrated risk-management solutions which are customer-specific.” Market research and threatanalysis based on the requirements of the mining industry are the premises that informed the long-term strategy. The strategy is the road map for sales and operational strategies, says Fourie.

The company provided securityto the Moma heavy-minerals project in Mozambique from its early stages.

The village of Tupuito is remote,which made it necessary to build the required infrastructure, a projectwhich has now largely been completed. The 240-km national road to the nearest major town, Nampula, is, for large stretches, a track through the bush, unable to carry heavy vehicles.

G4S Security Services South Africa has produced an innovative broad-based black economic-empowerment (BEE) model which caters for both the company’s own requirements, as well as every staff member, excluding management, with a minimum of five yearsservice with the company.

A total of 26% of the company has been allocated for BEE, 13% of which has been purchased by Kagiso Ventures, while the remaining 13% has been lodged with an independent staff trust.

The company is committed to employment equity and gender equality.

The corporate social investment initiatives are aimed at supporting various programmes identified in areas from which G4S draws its personnel.

Kagiso Ventures is the privateequity arm of Kagiso Trust Invest-ments.

It manages the Kagiso Ventures Private Equity Fund and Kagiso Strategic Investments, investing in midsized companies withattractive prospects.

It uses capital that originates from empowerment sources to investin selected businesses that meet its requirements in terms of returns, growth potential, and empowerment and ethics, adding value with its management expertise and its ability to gain access to markets and opportunities.

The company’s trust fully complies with company policy which calls for a broad-based empowerment initiative which will benefit most of the operating personnel.

The trust is independently managed by two eminently qualified board members drawn from the historically-disadvantaged community.

The trust is intended to benefitthe vast majority of the workforce.

Members of the trust will receive an annual dividend, while a component has been created within the trust for the benefit of the widows and orphans of deceased company employees, says Mangena.

Fourie concludes that Africa remains important for the global mining industry, and the G4S strategysupports the industry in Africa,providing security solutions for the needs of the customer.


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