Articles

 
System helps curb illegal mining and improves safety
17TH MAY 2013
 
BY: YOLANDI BOOYENS of the MINING WEEKLY
Illegal mining is problematic across Africa, with between 20 t to 40 t of the 100 t of gold mined on the continent each year by artisanal miners, extracted through illegal means, and possibly fuelling conflict on the continent, Rand Refinery CEO Howard Craig stated at the Mining Indaba in February.
To put this in perspective, 100 t is half of South Africa’s yearly output.
Craig added that it was almost impossible for refineries to determine if the gold sent to them from small-scale miners was being used to fuel conflict or crime.
Gold giant AngloGold Ashanti’s executive VP Africa Robert Duffy said his company estimated that between 25 kg and 35 kg of gold was mined monthly by artisanal miners in Tanzania alone. “It is extremely difficult to determine the scale and the output of these artisanal miners, as they are all unregulated.”
Workforce systems provider Gensys notes that, in response to this problem, it is targeting mines across Africa with its high-security turnstile technology, aimed at increasing mine security and curbing illegal mining activities.
“The question is not whether illegal mining exists on unsecure sites, but to what extent it exists,” notes Gensys project manager and workforce management consultant Claytin Capell.
The turnstile technology denies illegal miners access to underground mine premises, thereby curbing the damage to underground infrastructure and the criminal risk to which mine personnel are exposed.
“The technology contributes to mineworker safety, as it enables the successful identification of personnel, enforces health and safety rules and provides mining companies with an employee’s location, either surface or underground, for shaft clear purposes,” he explains.
Gensys developed its high-security turnstile concept over three years and released the final product in January 2012. The high-security concept and operational functionality were developed and tested in Johannesburg, in conjunction with a local partner manufacturer physical access control manufacturer Turnstar.
“It is available worldwide and in demand in mining industries where valuable minerals are readily available underground in near finished forms,” Capell states.
He adds that this new design encapsulates the necessary improvements on contemporary turnstile design and drastically reduces penetration of the premises through control circumvention and enhanced operational functionality.
“The technology prevents illegal miners from penetrating mine barriers, owing to a 45° locking concept, forcing unidentified persons back to the entry point and only allowing those attaining a 100% combination result of identification and verification at reader point to enter the mine,” says Capell.
“The turnstile cannot be breached by climbing through, upwards or over any part of the unit and restricted space allows only one person to pass through and diminishes the possibility of two persons attempting to breach the barrier in vertical or side-by-side positions.”
The technology comprises a patented pending turnstile design and a Posi-Lock mechanism technology, which enables the electronic identification of a person when the mechanism is securely locked in place, with the identification logic disabled when the rotor is in any other position.
Multispectral sensor fingerprint and logic technology also form part of the turnstile solution, which increase the accuracy of personnel identification, he adds, noting that the overall size of the solution is similar to conventional single turnstiles, which allows the conventional in-line stacking of units.
Further, a lockable lid eliminates tampering with the turnstile system and wiring and, when enabled, the system reader and biometrics are not accessible from the outside, ensuring accurate user identification and verification.
“Battery back-up is also incorporated in the technology, with bidirectional operation capability, which saves space and enhances worker flow,” Capell points out.
He adds that the turnstile technology also eliminates ‘airlocks’ – two unidirectional turnstiles forming a sterile area – and creates an easily manageable high-security area, which makes the barrier exceptionally difficult to breach.
“More effective security management is ensured with the technology, which can decrease the number of security guards needed.”
The technology was installed at three vertical mining sites at a gold mine in February 2012, ensuring the protection of all underground entry points, which led to substantial interest in new installations and integration options, Capell concludes.
 
Systems design to Maximise Uptime
28 June 2013
 
BY: Leandi Kolver of the MINING WEEKLY
Workforce systems provider Gensys’ FireFly, an access, time and attendance, safety, employee control, training, induction and benefits solution is designed and developed in such a way that power failures and network downtime have little to no effect on on-site rules and parameter enforcement, says Gensys project manager and workforce management consultant Claytin Capell.
FireFly is a web-based management tool, developed and customised for the mining industry.
“In the mining industry energy shortages lead to production losses, equating to daily losses of hundreds of thousands of rands,” he tells Mining Weekly.
A mine comprises an integral network of subsystems and any failure within the personnel safety system will result in an immediate shutdown. Therefore, the growth of a mine and its components are dependent on energy availability, Capell explains.
However, every component of the FireFly system is supported by a secondary power source. Should the main power be lost, the FireFly system will automatically switch to an alternative power mode, resulting in uninterrupted system operation, he says. 
“The backup power is derived from several possible sources, which include batteries, solar or generators, which subsequently ensures that, in the event of a power failure, all parameters and health and safety procedures will still be enforced.
Further, access to the FireFly system during a network failure or complete power failure is achieved through a straight connection to the master controller for application and database queries and to individual controllers for other more specific queries.
FireFly is an integral part of many mining operations, enforcing general and local safety rules, assisting in personnel management and serving as an asset protection system for personnel and local assets, Capell points out.
He adds that the system also assists mines in meeting the requirements set by the Department of Mineral Resources.
“The FireFly solution emphasises data integrity through its ‘always on’ backbone that has limited network and power dependencies.  It is locally manufactured, which ensures shorter turnaround times, and when required, the devices can be easily replaced.
“Solid state clock point web servers maintain in-step master tables when the application server or network is down, with up to 300 clock point web servers in synchronisation and up to date to the second, while the distribution feature ensures that data is synchronised automatically when the network fails or when a device is replaced,” Capell concludes.
 
FireFly Geared for Energy Redundancy
2 June 2020

 

BY: Claytin Capell from Gensys Workforce Systems
(Bloomberg) — Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which generates 95 percent of South Africa’s power, expects managed blackouts almost daily until April as it struggles to meet demand after deferred maintenance led to more plant breakdowns.
The South African mining industry is South Africa’s largest contributor to GDP. The ever-increasing energy crisis is threatening all industries with a possibility of an energy induced recession. Local mining houses have been forced to mitigate the effects of the energy situation through joint problem-solving strategy in all avenues of business.
FireFly a leader in the Time, Access and Health and Safety industry has implemented innovative multi-tier system redundancy to subdue the effects of the current crisis on their business partners across the board.
Firstly Battery Backup, all Firefly Hardware components have, as a standard, full battery backup to ensure component functioning. Battery backup can be used for reader powering through to Turnstile operation. FireFly Caters for a standard 6-hour standby time through to extended operational standby time. The equipment can also be supported by low energy UPS systems due to the 12v power requirement.
Secondly energy saving design, FireFly hardware boasts innovative design features to ensure energy efficiency and prolonged battery life. The life span of a standard battery depends largely on the environmental pressures it is exposed to. With extended power failures, batteries are drained completely and charged in a constant cycle decreasing the life span significantly. FireFly equipment has a built-in fail safe to ensure switch off when batteries hit 20% critical levels in order to ensure continued battery efficiency. FireFly hardware is also designed to enter a “sleep mode” condition, which draws less current from power sources during periods of equipment inactivity. The FireFly hardware components all run on 12v power reducing power requirements and wastage when coupled with traditional UPS systems.
Thirdly energy reporting, FireFly has energy monitoring features built into both hardware and software systems. FireFly hardware monitors the mains and battery power states, alerting system operators of any issues (Visual and Audio Cues). Monitor screens give system users an overview of the enterprise-wide power states. Reports are available to highlight power sensitive areas, battery voltage (Undercharge, Overcharge) and statistical information can be drawn on potential battery replacement needs.
Lastly maintenance procedures, FireFly offers a standard battery and power supply test and replacement as part of its monthly maintenance contracts.
Firefly is renowned for its system reliability and offline functionality.