Hide this alert
InfoMine Home

Security on Mines 

Author: Jack Caldwell


This review discusses security issues at mine sites. Several consulting firms specializing in security for mines are listed and their services are described. Video surveillance is also briefly discussed.


"The large-scale theft of gold products from mining companies in the United States can be traced to the time when the Gold Reserve Act was repealed on January 1, 1975." So begins the site of Wunderlich & Gladstone a company providing security services to the international mining industry. We are not told why this act lead to large-scale theft; was this because the act lifted the lid on the price of gold and allowed Americans to own gold? Regardless, here is the story of some of the companies providing security services to the mining industry.

By way of background:

  • InfoMine Suppliers has over fifty companies listed under the heading Security. There are only a handfull of technical papers on the topic in InfoMine's library. Proves security people do secure and do not write.
  • InfoMine Consultants has twenty-three consultants listed under the heading Security. Most deal with the health and safety aspect, not the anti-theft, anti-terrorist aspect.
  • TechnoMine's technology review Emergency Response covers similar ground to this review. I try not to repeat what is the earlier piece, so take a look at it too.


The only times I have personally experienced mine security in operation is when I have gotten involved with diamond mines. I recall in South Africa visiting mines where I had to pass through gates and screens and surveillance to get inside a double fence where the tailings impoundments lay quiet and undisturbed.

I was not allowed to take anything in and not allowed to bring anything out. The most amazing part of the tailings impoundment was always the part where all the old vehicles were discarded waiting to be covered by tailings; for once a vehicle went into the fenced area, it never came out.

I was reminded of this but a few weeks ago when I applied for a police clearance to visit one of Canada's diamond mines. I rode my bike up the hill to the police station and entered wet and disheveled. An efficient young man demanded proof that I lived where I said I did. He would not accept my California driver's license or business card. I had nothing else, so he sent me home to get a utility bill. Damn. But at least he promised to keep my paper work until I returned.

It continued to rain; by the time I had been home and back, I was wetter and more disheveled. This time a nice, understanding old policewoman helped me. She trusted and believed me. But when the young policeman admitted he had thrown my paperwork away because he did not believe I was for real, we both gave him hell. And he deserved it.

I made myself feel better by reading the following from the Ekati site about their security system of which I was so late a victim:

Security is an integral part of our operating philosophy, designed to protect the integrity of the company and people working in our operations. The mission of the Security Department is to "optimise the protection of all assets against hostile acts". While people are our principal assets, other important assets such as our diamond product, intellectual property and physical property must also be protected. All potential employees are subject to the successful completion of a rigorous background screening. All materials, personnel and effects in product handling areas are subject to search.

Employees are protected through protection of the rough diamonds. A combination of automated "hands-free" processing, controlled access to high-security areas, constant surveillance, and strict adherence to security procedures ensures that the opportunity for theft is removed. In addition to the built-in, multi-layered physical and technological safeguards, any access to rough diamonds requires the involvement of no less than two people from differing functions (in many areas the required involvement is considerably greater than two people). These safeguards protect personal integrity and prevent coercion.

The Security Department provides appropriate levels of protection while operating in a manner consistent with high moral and ethical standards, and maintaining an atmosphere in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity.



If you want to know more about the security challenges faced by mining companies in developing countries, read the paper Security in the Developing World by Neville Murrish. He has decades of experience in the security industry, having spent several years looking after security for mining companies in Africa.


While in South Africa, meet with the folk from ISASA Security Training. Here are their details:

Amanda Wasserman, Managing Director of ISASA Security Training, born in Pretoria, South Africa, embarked on her security career in 1991, specializing in the fields of surveillance and CCTV control room operations.
After many years training CCTV operators locally, she was approached by an international recruitment company to work and train surveillance operators abroad.
After 9 years, working and training CCTV operators in various surveillance and security control room operations on both ship and land in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Greece, Amanda returned to South Africa and ISASA Security Training (previously trading as In Focus Security Analysts) was founded.


Then there is AFIMAC. Here is a summary of their services from their website:
"For more than 30 years, AFIMAC has offered elite strike security, executive and close protection, cargo security, investigation and workplace violence services to image conscious companies across the globe. AFIMAC prides itself on partnering with their clients to protect people and property both during times of crisis and regular business operations. With the industry's leading Senior Management team having unparalleled expertise in its market, these professionals offer an assortment of pre-crisis planning and premium security and response solutions to government and businesses representing nearly every industry."


Advance Initiative, Consultancy Training Project Management provides these staff resumes:

  • Lawrence Johnson is a retired Lt. Colonel from the Intelligence branch of the US Army. He was Chief of Security for the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Angola and Chief of Security for the UN Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda.
  • Graham Sullivan is a retired Warrant Officer from the Australian Special Forces. He has established law enforcement programs in Cambodia and Vietnam and provided security services in Iraq and Central Asia.
  • Mark Bowman served in the Australian military and is now in Bangkok. He managed a security and explosive ordnance disposal firm in Cambodia, and worked on community assistance programs in Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia.
  • Josee Lemieux, born in Canada, has for the past 12 years lived in Africa working for the United Nations conducting relief aid and sustainable development work. Her latest work is as a Corporate Responsibility advisor.

I like the pictures that illustrate the text that describes the security work they do in Iraq.

Advance Initiative's Iraq Project (Photos: Advance Initiative)


The folk who run this company:

  • Dale Wunderlich was with the Los Angeles Police Department from 1959 to 1963 and was a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service for approximately fourteen years. While in the U.S. Secret Service, Mr. Wunderlich was assigned at the White House in Washington D.C. He was employed as Manager of Corporate Security for Continental Airlines, Vice President of Security and Operations for British West Indian Airways, Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Board for Security for an oil exploration and production company.
  • Paul Gladstone was a Commissioned Officer in the British Army and a graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandurst (UK). He spent 12 years in the Parachute Regiment in various operational theatres around the world including Northern Ireland, Central America and Somalia. Since leaving the British Army, Paul has worked at South America's largest gold mine as the Security Superintendent.


An interesting extra that may suit the needs of your mine's security systems, is a camera that connects to a computer that uses artificial intelligence to analyze the photos to detect activity that could well be a security breach.

HOSS provides just such a system. Their two models are in these photos.

Each unit provides secure remote monitoring and video surveillance from any authorized computer connected to the internet from anywhere in the world is possible. Intrusion detection and video monitoring software can be configured to automatically record to a hard drive whenever a security breach is detected. More on this system at the press release Using Artificial Intelligence for Perimeter Intrusion Detection.

| Back To Top |





EduMine Courses



Publications Search