The Gold Industry Group recently discovered what happens behind the scenes in one of the world's largest precious metals logistics companies. 

We recently spoke to Nathan Eastwood, the General Manager for the South Asia Pacific region at G4S International.

So Nathan, what does G4S International Logistics do?

G4S International Logistics (G4Si) securely transports valuable and vulnerable cargo around the globe to over 100 countries. For 30 years we have managed the logistics and transportation of precious metals, banknotes, fine art, diamonds and jewellery for thousands of organisations. 

Miners and refiners face complex threats and challenges and we manage these risks every day for our clients to ensure safe and secure transportation of their dore and refined metals.

An interesting and risky business, how much gold do you transport?

We routinely transport tens of millions of dollars of goods in single shipments from mine sites around the globe every week. The values can be much higher for refined gold where we frequently transport values into the hundreds of millions of dollars in a single shipment. The risks can be high but our Global Security team works closely with our Risk Management colleagues to ensure that all risks are mitigated against for the safety of the shipment and of course the crews.

Each individual shipment has its own specifically designed Standard Operating Procedure and regular audits ensure compliance. Risks are very different depending on factors such as the commodity, location and transport methodology. For example, in some high risk locations the biggest risks we face is of attack when a shipment is transferred between vehicles such as helicopter to fixed wing aircraft.  Some remote airports can have limited security or no perimeter fencing, so we must ensure that we secure these areas with our manpower. Equally, we face risks when transporting in well developed, modern cities.

Tell me about your position with G4Si.

I’m the General Manager for South APAC,  which means I’m responsible for G4Si in Australia, NZ, PNG, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands. Having spent the previous nine years with G4Si businesses in the UK and Australia in international account management roles, I’m very much focused on working with our clients to discover where G4Si can add value to their business.

My role takes me travelling across Australia, South APAC and the wider region with regular trips to Hong Kong and Singapore to spend time with our clients. It’s a varied role with no two days the same, I can be in my office in Sydney one day or on a remote mine with a secure shipment the next.

What’s the most interesting thing about your job?

Each day in this job is different and working in the South Asia Pacific Region gives me the opportunity to work with many different nationalities and cultures. In our Sydney office there are a number of different languages spoken as we have staff from each of the countries we service in the region.

Coming up with transportation solutions is very interesting, particularly in remote areas that may require the coordination of armoured vehicles, helicopters, fixed wing charter and commercial aircraft.

It truly is a global business as we must work with our colleagues in the other offices throughout the world every day. For example, a shipment from Sydney to London will require involvement from our Sydney, Hong Kong and London offices. This keeps things interesting, as coordinating through the different time zones G4Si has a line of site on each shipment whenever it’s on the ground or being transferred between transportation method.

The wider G4S Group has many really interesting divisions. Whether it be securing Baghdad Airport, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships or the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it’s a fantastic organisation to be a part of.

How do you work with the community and industry?

We comply with the OECD regulations on responsible mineral supply chains and are a founding signatory to the UN Global Compact. The international standard means, together with governments and non-governmental organisations, we work to implement responsible practices in high-risk and conflict-affected areas to promote stability, beneficial development and the advancement of peace.

We support the ‘Responsible Gold’ approach and are members of many global groups and associations including the LBMA, Confederation of European Security Services and of course, the Gold Industry Group.

What sets G4Si apart?

We have a comprehensive suite of secure solutions that incorporate industry best practice gleaned from being part of the world’s leading security provider, G4S Plc. We draw on our Group’s expertise to achieve the full mine to market service, incorporating: Secure Technology, Security Manpower, Crisis Management and Response, Specialised Risk Consultancy and Travel Risk Management, giving our clients in the gold industry a unique, integrated security management solution.

We understand that making scheduled production quantities is a key business driver and can work with a mine to help expand their business while safely delivering precious metals to the next step of the supply chain. The G4Si Risk Management team regularly audits gold and silver mines and operational processes worldwide.

Each mine must present different challenges, how do meet these?

Each mine is different, and our methodology will change depending on factors such as a country’s or region’s environment or risk profile. For example, there may not be accessible roads to a mine or transporting via road may present other risks. Therefore, we may charter helicopters or fixed wing aircraft to ensure the shipment is secure.

As mines become ever more scattered in remote areas of the world, we help bridge the gap from mine to refinery. We have the resources to handle any type of terrain, no matter how remote a location or complex the logistics, we will ensure a safe and cost-effective delivery.

Why do you support the Gold Industry Group?

The group represents the full spectrum of the gold industry and gives G4Si the opportunity to be part of a new, innovative group where the focus is not just exploration, mining or refining.  We see secure logistics as an integral part of the industry and participation in the GIG is a great opportunity to be involved and share best practice with fellow professionals.  

I have worked for the G4S Group for nine years across different divisions and countries, however I’m relatively new to the secure logistics division, with Diggers & Dealers 2017 marking my one year anniversary. Therefore, sitting on the GIG Digital Content Sub-committee gives me the opportunity to learn from the experts and to be actively involved in a truly unique industry.

What do you do with your spare time?

I’m married with an 18 month old son so I’m kept quite busy! We love an outdoor lifestyle living a stone’s throw from the beach on the Central Coast of NSW. I also have a growing collection of motorbikes and probably spend too much time with them!