Regardless of whether your business is still at exploration stage or you have a well established, fully operational gold mining and production entity; one of the essential elements for successful security management is stakeholder management.
If you can’t reference a complete, high-level stakeholder map/visual with all the positive and negative influences or stakeholders affecting your gold mining operations, that is digestible within 30 minutes, then you aren’t effectively managing your stakeholders and you have a significant security threat evolving.
Having been involved in numerous remote, mining and gold mining operations over the years, it never ceases to concern and amaze me just how little preparation and understanding goes into stakeholder management and the significant links it has to overall security and operational strategy. It doesn’t matter if you are an expatriate manager, a local community relations representative or board member, it is essential that you understand the various stakeholders and how they impact upon your operations and decision making. This visual review should include local communities, regulatory bodies, staff, providers and even up to your refinery and sales stakeholders.
Only when you have documented and understand the entire stakeholder landscape can you plan tactical and strategic operations. Inter-relationships, motivations and other factors can be expanded upon in a deeper analysis but it is essential to “see” this network first. Prominent individuals or groups within each of these stakeholder groups should also be identified and noted accordingly. This type of visual/map is vital for management, onboarding new talent, community relationship management and general/overall risk mitigation planning. Not to mention crisis management.
You often hear a lot of reasons or excuses as to why this type of resources doesn’t currently exist but the fact of the matter is that is more likely due to individuals protecting information, a lack of ability to understand/produce such a resource, apathy at the senior leadership level, security “concerns” or a any number of protective excuses as to why all your stakeholders can’t be analysed, reviewed and documented in a single, high-level document. Knowledge is power!
The process of creating and reviewing a stakeholder map in itself is very revealing. You can quickly identify relationships and proximity between individuals/groups that are natural to gold mining activity. Conversely, you can quickly identify and scrutinize ‘unnatural’ relationships such as employees that own service provider companies working for your business.
I prefer to have breakout analysis at various levels. Looking at shareholders, local ownership, community groups, and issue motivated elements in isolation or greater detail often dictates your strategic security needs long before there is consideration for fences, guards, and locks.
In the event of crisis, which is inevitable in the gold mining sector, this stakeholder maps is an invaluable resource for decision makers and clarity of action. It helps prioritize decision making, engagement and exactly who your audience is with communications or the perception of outcome. Over time, security should be able to expand the resource to include economic factors such as the local price of illegally obtained gold, community settlements, local investments and compare this against tangible security investments such as fences, guards, and locks. With a strategic security management plan and review, it will be evident that investment in stakeholder groups will lead to efficiencies in fixed security expenditure and infrastructure….if effectively managed.