Integrating biometrics and operations

Issue 5 2021 Mining (Industry)

The global mining market is expected to grow from $1641 billion in 2020 to $1845 billion in 2021. Mines drive economies in countries that depend on the sales of minerals, metals and other valuable materials. However, many companies were forced to revamp their mining operations around the Covid-19 pandemic. Mandates for social distancing, temperature monitoring and remote work for some staff suddenly became the norm in this industry.

As operations have started to crawl back to pre-pandemic levels, there are persisting challenges that mining operations must confront. Management must insist that their security systems are able to ensure the worker safety while providing proper access to each person’s assigned working shafts as quickly as possible. Time delays equate to lost revenue and the added risk of the Delta variant now means that returning mine workers will have to complete health checks before entering work for the day to ensure smooth, healthy and profitable operations.

The uniqueness of mine security and increased pressure from the pandemic creates high demand for access control solutions with high throughput and accuracy that can withstand harsh environments. Solutions like touchless facial recognition for access control and time tracking that can integrate with existing access control systems are now on the market.

A good example is Invixium’s IXM TITAN: a touchless face recognition solution capable of authenticating up to 18 users per minute and its companion Enhancement Kit that adds screening of up to 15 temperatures in the same timeframe. Waiting for a complex security workflow to authenticate each person’s identity, screen their temperature and/or track time may cause delays that can cost miners and operators income.

Using facial recognition means employees do not have to wash their hands or remember a PIN or ID card, making shift changes and mine access fast, secure and safe. Solutions that incorporate rugged construction like an aluminium body or Corning Gorilla Glass LCD screens, like IXM TITAN, are ideal for the most challenging mining environments.

Mine operations ideal for biometrics

Large mining shifts consist of thousands of miners working in dozens of shafts around the clock. Access control checkpoints at the entrance of each shaft require workers to enter through card-operated turnstiles. Mines also restrict access to the operation’s different levels, allowing administrators to track which miners are where and at what time for payroll and safety purposes. However, the evolving complexities of layered security are rapidly shifting operators away from traditional access control solutions to advanced biometrics.

Mine security requires dependability and simplicity. Being able to integrate an existing access control system with new, enterprise-grade software that can communicate time tracking and temperature data to whichever platform a mine currently uses makes innovative biometrics a seamless value-added solution. For mining operations that do not have a pre-existing access control system, software options like IXM WEB provide a security and business operations package that features visitor and employee enrolment, a live feed to all device cameras and intuitive dashboards to facilitate decision-making.

Biometrics in action

Looking to increase security and protect personnel health, the Eastplats Crocodile River Mine deployed IXM TITAN with Enhancement Kit to migrate to touchless access control and temperature screening due to Covid-19. Eastplats already had an HRMS installed, but required an integration with their time tracking and access control system.

The Invixium solution was selected for its ruggedness, integration capabilities and high throughput. Speed and ruggedness is why operations like Eastplats select biometric hardware: with fast and durable biometrics, thousands of miners easily move through complex access protocols. Biometrics offer the accuracy, speed and audit capabilities that help control business risk and reduce financial losses.

Cutting edge biometric solutions like IXM TITAN play an important role in helping South African mines get thousands of people back to work safely. New biometric solutions that combine security, health, safety and workforce management are the future of how healthy mines do business.

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