Maintaining security and safety

November 2006 Access Control & Identity Management

Security and access control (AC) has always been a major focus for Lonmin, the world's third largest platinum producer, with four operational mines in South Africa and over 26 000 employees.

The history

"Mining is an inherently high-risk activity so there is a need for strict AC in order to provide a safe working environment that meets and preferably exceeds the provisions laid down in the Health and Safety (Mines) Act. We need to know exactly how many people are in each sector of our mines at any time," explains Frans van Straten, manager, time and bonus, at Lonmin.

Preventing unlawful entry is another long-standing criterion for security at Lonmin. "Securing our property and premises - not to mention the extremely valuable product that we produce - is obviously crucial to maintaining and improving profitability for the company and its shareholders," adds Van Straten.

Time and attendance (T&A) systems and the accurate measurement of hours worked were another important aspect of Lonmin's requirements.

Lonmin and SACO Systems have worked together for many years, continuously monitoring developments in the security industry in order to maintain and implement the latest technologies available as they come to market.

SACO is a manufacturer and solution provider in the security sector, integrating radio frequency identification (RFID) and asset and resource management systems with T&A and AC systems.

Tommy Laubscher, manager mining division at SACO adds, "We easily interface to other products and have a well established supplier base for biometric technology, turnstiles and vehicle barriers. We have been suppliers of solutions to the mining industry for 28 years. Over this time SACO has grown into a fully fledged RFID environment company."

The solution

Most recently, SACO has supplied Lonmin with its in-house hardware interfaces to Sagem biometric fingerprint readers, and PC-based SQL software operating on a Microsoft platform.

"The objective was to provide Lonmin with accurate measurement and control of assets and employees. These systems were required to be 32 bit Windows-based applications that fully integrate to other packages used by the mines such as SAP, SOLIT or VIP," explains Laubscher.

SACO's long experience in the mining industry ensured a smooth transition to the new system. "We separate design, specification and implementation phases of development. As our software development is all in-house, we have total control over the finished product, so we do not experience 'surprises' at implementation phase. Progress points are measured by achievement. SACO now has a complete Resource Management solution for the mining industry," comments Laubscher.

Van Straten adds: "Lonmin is very satisfied with the functionality of the software, which has produced tangible benefits in all areas of the business and especially in the areas of access control and accurate time recording. SACO's system has integrated seamlessly into Lonmin's SAP systems."

The nature of the working environment, where excessive dust and moisture, combined with harsh wear and tear from dirty hands means that all equipment needs to be extremely rugged and have extremely low maintenance and breakdown levels.

SACO chose Sagem biometric fingerprint readers and Turnstar Titan maximum security turnstiles to meet theses stringent performance requirements. Laubscher adds: "SACO's long experience in the mining industry means we understand the requirements of the industry and excel at analysing industry needs. We have successfully developed systems that are implemented world-wide in the mining industry."

Van Straten concludes, "SACO's solutions continue to offer Lonmin the best that the security industry has to offer. When one works with a vast number of employees, fast, reliable and accurate recording of employee movements are essential. The data collected by the new system has enhanced our capability to keep undesirable elements out of our property. It has also improved our safety systems vastly in the sense that we know who is exactly where. Safety and wellbeing of our employees is pivotal to our operations and we cannot afford to injure even one employee. So although the process will always be in review, for the moment, Lonmin is satisfied that it has implemented the best solution available."

Fact file

Saco Systems, Tommy Laubscher, +27 (0) 11 652 5346,

Ideco, Gary Jones, +27 (0) 11 745 5600,

Turnstar, Sydney Sacks, +27 (0) 11 786 1633

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