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January 11, 2024


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case study

Colombian mine uses video monitoring and drones for enhanced safety and security

G4S boosts safety and security at Cerro Matoso mine in Columbia, through a range of systems including the use of video monitoring, drones and access control. 

The mine, located in the north of Columbia is operated by South 32, a global mining company headquartered in Australia, and with the assistance of G4S, has managed 1,300 days passing without any accidents or incidents taking place.

This feat is more impressive, G4S said, considering the size of the site – it runs to 4,000 hectares, with a workforce that can be as high as 2,000 people, once contractors are factored in.

As well as securing the mine, G4S is responsible for health and safety on site. Much of this is carried out from a control room at the mine which is said to be staffed by three G4S operators: one looks after the perimeter, another focuses on the internal area (operations), and a third monitors the citadel area where employees and their families live.

Improving response times to emergencies 

Juan Daza, Managing Director MSS & Risk at G4S Colombia, says: “We’ve held this contract for 13 years now which is testament to the successful working relationship we have with the client. Over time we’ve shown flexibility and have adapted as their needs have changed – for example, we’ve trained G4S staff to drive fire engines on site in order to improve response times to any emergencies.”

From the control room, G4S monitors equipment and general working conditions through a range of electronic systems, including video monitoring, access control, alarms and drones to intervene if they spot something that looks unsafe.

For example, the firm said, if explosions are going to be used to explore new areas within the site they are able to confirm the area is clear first, as well as pay close attention to any restrictive areas, such as where the explosives are stored, or the furnace where materials are processed.

Rigorous health and safety training 

Ana Jaraba, G4S Project Manager at Cerro Matoso, adds: “We generate trust and credibility through timely responses to health and safety and security concerns. Our challenge is not to hold up operations – we want the client to be focused on their business and to fully trust us when it comes to security and health and safety management.”

If an operator does spot a situation which raises a concern in the control room, they are said to communicate with the area supervisor via radio so that an intervention can be made. Before taking up their post, staff have to undergo rigorous health and safety training developed by the operator, G4S said.

Juan continues: “This project demonstrates how we are able to deliver a large scale operation with limited access to staff resources – the site is a two-hour drive away from the nearest city which means we’ve had to recruit and train people from the surrounding area, some of whom are still with the company 13 years later.”

Adding to this, Ana says: “Since I joined G4S 10 years ago, I have enjoyed seeing how our employees grow professionally – and how G4S has contributed significantly to the development of the region and the surrounding communities.”

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