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Security strategy


In 2011, we put in place a revised strategy targeting security based on good community relationships. We did this in response to:

  • A growing recognition that good community relationships built on trust will have a positive impact on security; and
  • An increase in the number and severity of security incidents at our operations, as a result of both increased illegal and artisanal mining and an increase in the level of organisation and funding of criminal activity around our operations, spurred on by an escalating gold price.

The most significant security challenges that we face occur in areas where there is endemic poverty and high levels of unemployment with few opportunities for alternative livelihoods. Effective strategies for community engagement and local economic development to create alternative livelihoods are therefore essential and will be put into practice along with the revised security strategy described in the diagram below.

AngloGold Ashanti’s security strategy

Our focus in 2011 was on completing implementation of AngloGold Ashanti’s global security framework, which began in 2009 and has been rolled out to all of our operations, and on strengthening the integrity and credibility of security management processes. This work will be continued into 2012 and represents the first phase of our strategy.

In the second phase of the strategy, which will take us until approximately 2015, we will focus on a five-point plan as a foundation for long-term improvement. The five issues that have been identified are:

Removing people from risk

Reducing the potential for conflict is paramount to prevent injuries to employees, security personnel and community members. In 2011, 49 injuries to security personnel occurred, and three fatalities and nine injuries among community members. The continuing occurrence of these fatalities and injuries is an area of major concern.

Defining the role of communities in complementing security initiatives

This will be a key driver for success going forward and the only sustainable way of ensuring acceptable security practices in the future. All relevant stakeholders will be engaged in developing solutions to promote community-enhanced security.

Partnering more effectively with public security providers

This is to complement the reach and effectiveness of our own security measures. The use of military force remains a last resort. However in Colombia, Ghana, the DRC and Guinea, risk assessments categorise threats as high enough to require the inclusion of public security forces on a near-permanent basis. These are usually national police and/or military units, that provide additional security in accordance with specific agreements with the competent authorities or at the authorities’ own initiative. These will be phased out if the threat and risk diminishes through stronger community-enhanced policing initiatives.

The role of public security in our areas of operation is to maintain law and order. Defining this role in a way which complements our security efforts and ensures respect for the human rights of all parties will be a key focus area going forward. As part of this effort, we have been working to review contracts with private and public security services to standardise contract requirements by mid 2012.

Technology and manpower

Improving our use of technology to reduce physical numbers of security personnel potentially at risk in line with current security management practices. A significant number of security personnel are currently employed (constituting about 6% of our total workforce) and we aim to reduce the number of individuals exposed to risk by implementing technology-driven security management practices.

Using highly-trained, skilled and equipped rapid reaction teams

This is used to defuse potential security incidents before they escalate. Four incidents of protest action were reported at our operations in 2011 and we believe that our ability to respond to these incidents will be improved with the involvement of specialist teams. Our capacity to respond appropriately to incidents in the field will also be improved through real time reports and electronic alarms.

In the third phase, from 2015 onwards, our aim is that security management will play a more strategic role in our business, with community partnerships enhancing our security and enabling security management practices that are fully supported by communities, public security and host governments. In our context, this approach will represent leading practice and will provide a significant contribution to the stability and security of employees, communities and operations.

In conjunction with this strategy, we are working to improve communication processes around incidents. Incidents are reviewed to establish what lessons can be learnt and knowledge is shared through regular meetings of global, regional and operational security managers. Regular interactions take place between security and community relations personnel and we have also introduced the practice of including community, safety and other relevant experts in on-site investigations of security incidents.

We are also in the process of integrating our global security framework and management practices within all our exploration activities as part of the overall due diligence of new and existing exploration sites.

As previously noted, we recorded an increase in the number and severity of security incidents in 2011, due in part to a greater level of organisation among criminal elements and syndicates in our areas of operation, as well as an increase in artisanal and smallscale mining (ASM) and illegal mining activity, spurred on by higher gold prices. Implementation of the revised security strategy described above is essential in stemming and reversing this trend.

Regrettably, nine injuries and three fatalities among third parties occurred during the year as a result of security incidents.

Fatalities among third parties as a result of security interventions Injuries to third parties as a result
of security interventions

The number of injuries remains low relative to the increase in security interventions required to ensure the protection of assets and personnel.

We have, however, experienced an increase in injuries to security personnel. As referenced previously, AngloGold Ashanti’s security is provided by internal security personnel and private security companies. In Colombia, Ghana, the DRC and Guinea, these are assisted by public security forces. The graph below covers all three of these categories.

The fatalities graphed above and below typically result from artisanal mining activity, where this is carried out on company property. As artisanal miners operate independently of the company, we cannot regulate this activity. We have however attempted to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that occur by restricting access to areas of our concessions where we are actively mining and which may be dangerous to artisanal miners or to the public in general. Although we believe that not all injuries and fatalities are reported to us, we have seen a decrease in the recorded numbers of fatalities and we believe that more effective security management practices have played a significant role in achieving this.

Injuries to security personnel as a
result of security interventions Injuries to security personnel as a
result of security interventions

In our 2010 report, we also committed to:

  • A review of all public and private security services contracts by 2011. This has been progressed and will be completed in mid-2012; and
  • Implementing the global security framework by the end of 2011, which has been achieved. Compliance assessments will be conducted at our operations in 2012. As described above, a revised security strategy has also been developed in response to the increase in the number and severity of security incidents and is in the process of being implemented.

Compliance with the VPSHR

Implementation of the VPSHR has been an integral part of our security management programme since the introduction of our global security framework in 2009. AngloGold Ashanti compiles a detailed annual report on progress in the application of the voluntary principles which is published on our website at The VPSHR are a set of non-binding principles developed in 2000 to provide guidance to businesses on meeting security needs whilst maintaining respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Extensive training of both AngloGold Ashanti security personnel, public and private security suppliers is carried out on the voluntary principles. In 2011, 97% of our security personnel received training. Training is conducted according to a standard briefing developed by AngloGold Ashanti and updated as necessary to take account of changes in factors affecting our security situation.

A priority for the coming year is to review and improve the quality of this training. In Colombia, the company has engaged an NGO, International Alert, to provide an independent assessment of the company’s progress in implementation of the VPSHR, which will also focus on training. We will receive the results of this assessment at the end of March 2012 and we will start actioning recommendations from the second quarter, to aid development of formal strategies and goals in this area.

Businesses participating in the VPSHR are in the process of developing and adopting a standard set of key performance indicators, which we fully support and will incorporate into our management practices.

AngloGold Ashanti’s, Cesar Colmenares liaises with government forces regarding the protection of our company’s exploration project at Gramalote, Colombia