Insights into Mining and Extraction Industry and Security Risk Management

Insights into Mining and Extraction Industry and Security Risk Management

Every industry, business, and home; every one of us—owes our existence and lifestyle to something that comes out of a mine. It is ironic that energy saving devices such as solar panels are entirely comprised of mined product. The integrity of Mining and Extraction companies and their reliable operation remain key factors in ensuring the supply in resources, vital for the well-being of citizens and the economy. Security integrity becomes a critical facet through the fractious times which are the transition to cleaner energy. Mining and extraction is contentious and attracts the interest of protesters, activists, and environmentalists.

Pivotal events such as the Mount Polley mine disaster in 2014 still resonate. The mine owner, experienced considerable backlash at its offices in Vancouver. As a client of Lions Gate during this turbulent period, we had first hand exposure to activism and strong insight into tactics employed to damage the reputation and brand of our client. It is not always the disruption of operations that is the primary focus of these groups and individuals. Our business and investigative intelligence team through meticulous monitoring of open-source intelligence was able to support the client’s proactive strategic decision making by providing detailed reports. Protest and activism today is less passive, more aggressive, coordinated, and sophisticated, and will be more present at mining and extraction events and facilities in the future. Assessing the scale of protest, activism, and gravity of threat, requires skilled open-and closed source analysis, and real time monitoring. There are inherent dangers of social media monitoring from the side of the desk. High quality analyzed intelligence products are game changers for strategic decision making.

Mount Polley and other dam failures have honed mining-sector focus on better tailings management through safety reviews and emergency management plans. Planning to manage safety and security events, incidents, and emergencies, needs to be ‘likely scenario’ based and well informed. Again, intelligence led and risk proportional. What do I need to have in place to deter, detect, delay, and deny offending and then respond effectively? What do I have to have in place to maintain a safe operating environment? Safety and security are intertwined, and measured security can have significant safety benefits. People assets are paramount.

Further focus has been on obtaining social license for resource extraction projects, due to heightened public awareness of potential environmental damage and environmental expectations. Community engagement and consultation is critical from project initiation to operation, for new mining and extraction projects. Community voices will vary in timbre and content and industry does well to listen to the gravity of all voices. The success of mining and extraction projects relies upon transparency and clear concise communications. Brand protection and reputation.

The industry has needed to become more flexible to accommodate the peaks and troughs, ebbs, and flows, and fluctuations in commodity prices, and has needed to adapt quickly to changes. In the years to come these include the urgent need to address the prospect of acute labor shortages, underinvestment, fewer project opportunities, geopolitical risks, and low productivity. Greater integration of technology and the hiring of a demographically diverse workforce, forms part of this adaption. Lions Gate and SSRG have developed strong Indigenous partnerships and we are proactive about localization. Not developing skills within local communities for mining roles, but opening up security roles, and providing opportunities for professional growth, which help build community relationships, facilitate self sufficiency, and contribute to the local economy.

Geopolitical instability has exacerbated the growth in frequency and severity of cyber-attacks, including the targeting of energy critical infrastructure. There is a critical need for public and private partners to align, and enable their business, and digitally, by embedding cyber resilience in the business culture and operations and taking a systemic approach to risk management. CEOs in the coming years must think holistically, plan ahead, and focus on value creation.

Astute mining and extraction companies understand that effective risk management is a source of competitive advantage. Leaders who view uncertainty and risk more broadly than just compliance can anticipate challenges better, seize opportunities faster, and emerge from setbacks stronger. Safety compliance will always be paramount, but security is inextricably linked. The latter undoubtedly contributes to the former in a myriad of diverse ways. Taking the broader view, leaders will be able to mitigate the negative impacts of common energy sector risk pitfalls. These are self explanatory but often occur. Failing to appreciate the compounding impact of multiple risks – over reliance on probabilistic modelling – silo security operations – budget availability rather than security risk driven approaches and measures – ignoring lower in the hierarchy voices i.e., those at the coal face – risk management tokenism – only compliance thresholds adopted rather than security performance ceilings.

More Mining and Extraction companies have or are transitioning to a modular approach incorporating field proven mine management solutions to enhance productivity, health, and safety. The use of modularity can reduce product development and testing costs, all thanks to shorter development cycles and modular components’ reusability. Companies who cannot consistently predict commodity demand or price movements, will be better positioned to adjust production, and at short notice. Modularity will help make smaller and shorter-life assets more viable, it will provide reusable plant and equipment that can be moved from one ore body to another as assets come to the end of their life.

In alignment, mining and extraction security should mirror this modularity and flexibility, by being able to quickly adapt to changes and have in place location transferable security risk proportionate client solutions, as required. The portability of security technology, physical security, IT security, Personnel Security, and Procedural Security, will be integral. The role of procedures in particular cannot be overstated. The glue that binds our security protection is the instruction manuals, the five “P’s”: policies, protocols, procedures, processes, and programs. Safety and security compliance needs to be ingrained in governance and will have to be surpassed to achieve a safety performance return on investment. Outside of industry specific regulation, legislative compliance is often miscalculated and litigation exposure results. There are critical areas that must be closely monitored and acted upon. Mining and Extraction companies have a duty of care under Occupier Liability legislation, to their personnel, contractors, visitors, and even uninvited and unauthorized guests. It is for each operation to be able to defend itself post incident or event, and under official scrutiny. Mining and Extraction is one of the most dangerous global occupations and post incident must be able to demonstrate that security and safety measures adopted and implemented, were both reasonable and prudent based on risk. Contingency lawyers thrive on shortfalls. Alongside duty of care and occupier liability, human rights, workplace violence programs and threat management programs are core considerations.

Third party organizational security risk management services are more cost effective and would provide mining and extraction companies with specialized security services and a talent pool of subject matter experts who can be called upon as needed. Finding security integrity in a convergent age is complex and sophisticated and will require the engagement of a specialists. There is no ‘jack of all trades’ security professional, and you are unlikely to justify budget and assemble such a team in house. At Lions Gate we have strategic partner expertise in addition to our in-house experts. This allows us to provide you with a front to back security solution that is appropriate, realistic and both risk and cost proportionate. Scalable risk-based solutions tailored to your mining and extraction operation.

In the case of Mining and Extraction, the goal of security is to take prevention, mitigation, and responsive measures in order to ensure the integrity of the assets, the reliable supply of extracted resources, the health of the workers, the health of the public, and respect for the environment. This is achieved with the Lions Gate Mining and Extraction Sector specific Security Management Program. Drawing on a methodology originally developed in Europe, this dynamic program of four phases, addresses, strategy and planning, risk assessment, security design, and implementation and review. It is rightly comprehensive and sometimes complex as befits threat consequences in the target sector. It is ready made and client adaptable and includes front to back management procedures and guidance. It addresses all regulatory and legislative compliance and is also designed to deliver a security performance that speaks to a return on security investment.

Mining and extraction companies remain under exceptional pressure to control costs, heighten efficiency, and improve safety performance. Security performance has a critical role.

For more information or training programs tailored to your business, please contact . For any support and assistance call 1.604.383.0020 or toll-free at 1.800.212.2026 or visit at any time. Our expertise is your peace of mind.

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