So. Africa: Embrace technology solutions to mitigate risks associated with mine closures, says IT specialist

Author: Vanessa Tyne, IT Online (South Africa) , Published on: 22 October 2019

‘Securing abandoned mines’ 17 October 2019

…Considering that the sector consists of diamonds, gold, platinum, and coal, it is easy to understand why local mining operations invest heavily in security technology to protect workers and prevent intrusion and theft during active mining. But what happens when the mine closes? Historically, it was common practice to simply abandon a mine when it became no longer profitable. In fact, according to a report from the Auditor General, South Africa alone has an estimated 6 000 abandoned mines. And while this number is still relatively small when compared to other major mine producing countries, these do pose significant environmental challenges.

…Considering that closed mines pose such a meaningful risk to operations, mining companies must continue their investment in safety and security during post-mine closure rehabilitation. And while the security risks during this phase are like those in active mining (intrusion, theft, sabotage, and personal safety), the technology must be updated to match the change in post-mining focus. This is particularly true for the video surveillance system.

Embracing these more agile technology solutions enable mines to mitigate against much of the risks typically associated with closures. Companies can avoid loss of life and costly downtime. This makes them much better positioned to fulfil their land restoration commitments to support sustainable socio-economic possibilities in post-mining communities. As mining companies continue to explore innovative ways to increase profits, minimise environmental impact and reduce job hazards, the possibility for automation and video surveillance applications will continue to grow.

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