A DETERIORATION in security in West Africa should lead to “… a more securitised approach to mining operations” in the region, said the Australia-Africa Minerals and Energy Group (AAMEG).
“With the mining industry in the region facing threats from kidnapping for ransom, direct action raids and denial of access attacks, companies are encouraged to engage in risk management and mitigation; and complete risk assessments and a risk registry,” said William Witham, CEO of AAMEG in a statement.
Terrorist groups in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger focus on addressing the concerns of local communities and exploiting community divisions and regional vulnerabilities, said AAMEG. They engaged in a combination of intimidation, exploitation of ethnic tensions and financial control “to gain influence,” it said.
Commented Glen Askew, Australian High Commission Chargé d’affaires: “Unfortunately large ransoms paid by some countries/people have helped sustain terrorist activity, and we are worried that it is possible that extremist groups will shift focus to commercial targeting in the future”.
“This requires a more securitised approach to mining operations and the Australian High Commission in consultation with other key stakeholders, will explore opportunities for further mining industry-wide initiatives to improve safety and security for personnel and assets in the region,” he said.
The AAMEG said companies ought to improve security by funding security operations appropriately, conduct risk assessments, maintain effective plans and policies and review the adequacy of insurance among other measures.