4132 enrolled employees all processed through. Seven SACO Sagem biometric terminals. All biometric transactions are 1:many identification (fingerprint only), and matching speeds average less than two seconds per person.
These terminals are used to control access to the hostel kitchen and record the meals consumed by staff. This system is also fully integrated with the SACO access control and T&A system, which manages the rest of the site and shafts.
Lonmin is the third largest primary producer of platinum in the world, producing over 900 000 ounces of platinum and a similar number of ounces of the other platinum group metals such as palladium and rhodium. Operations are located in the district of Marikana, near Rustenberg, in the North West Province.
Lonmin was experiencing major problems controlling access to its hostel kitchen where over 4500 employees are provided with meals. This presented an ideal opportunity to implement and test the feasibility of biometric-based access control on a mining site with a large number of employees (with poor quality fingerprints), with a plan to roll out biometrics throughout the site.
The previous card-based system was susceptible to fraud and abuse. There were approximately 500 fraudulent entries to the canteen daily when the card-based system was in place.
SACO has been supplying systems to Lonmin since 1992 and has been strategically involved in ongoing enhancement of access control and T&A systems and procedures on the site throughout this period. In an effort to provide better security and reduce costs for Lonmin, SACO proposed biometric integration into the existing hostel system.
SACO Access Control and Time and Attendance system, utilising Sagem Morpho biometric hardware and software.
SACO utilises Sagem's Morpho Matcher on the central fingerprint database. For its biometric terminals it utilises Sagem's Morphosmart 200 high-end optical scanners.
The solution in use at the mine aims to eliminate fraudulent access to the hostel kitchen; control meal times in relation to shifts; and record protein and non-protein count directly against employee biometric identification.
What the solution achieves is efficient access control; reduced card and associated administration costs; elimination of fraud; and increased safety and security on-site. Unauthorised persons on-site can introduce a serious safety risk to both the company and its employees.
Obstacles en route to a final solution
The use of fingerprint identification in mining environments is made challenging by the quality of the fingerprints encountered and the size of the workforce.
In addition, rapid identification is essential to ensure smooth access control and to ensure no disruptions of shift start and end times.
Initially it took some time to get employees familiar with the placement of their fingers on the system. While the Sagem scanners are probably the most flexible when it comes to finger positioning, some initial user education was necessary.
A solution was sought which would integrate tightly with the access and T&A system.
A pilot phase was run to test the viability and performance of the system. Based on the success of the pilot a roll out plan was determined and the system was implemented.
Progress is being constantly measured even in the live environment. SACO performs ongoing analysis of the systems performance and uses this information to provide valuable feedback.
The system has performed extremely well, and has proven its feasibility to an extent where it is believed the system should be further deployed in the site for example to control access to the mine shafts.
Key service providers and products:
Saco Systems, Des Oliver, 011 652 5555, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sagem Biometric Products distributed by Ideco Group, Gary Jones, 011 840 7800, email@example.com
Lonmin Platinum, Jannie Jacobs, 014 571 5586.
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