Remote Mining Site in Rural Mexico Uses Mobile Access Control Solution to Identify Staff
Headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colo., Newmont is a mining corporation and sustainable gold producer that manages operations all over the world. As of December 2018, the company had 6,673 employees between contractors and staff members. As a global corporation, Newmont needed a way to manage the flow of people in and out of their mining operations in various international locations. It was important for the company to monitor and register when staff arrived and departed from a job site, which was difficult at the remote, rural locations that lacked formal entry points and internet connectivity.
“We were looking for a solution that could connect with our system on mobile devices,” explained Daniel Tejeda, a project manager at Newmont. “We needed something for people who don’t necessarily pass through traditional entrances, and we needed a mobile card reader solution.”
Newmont’s access control platform vendor connected the company with Alutel Mobility. Alutel’s solution integrates with access control platforms, directly connecting with their database and synchronizing with approved devices and mobile readers. The solution also uses HID Global’s built-in OMNIKEY reader modules in the Alutel tablets, as well as Seos cards. It delivers integrated mobile authentication in remote areas where it is impossible to install a reader infrastructure and there is frequently no connection to a server.
Newmont launched the first phase of the project at its Peñasquito plant in northwestern Mexico. The solution deployed was designed to operate in remote areas where it is difficult to install a fixed reader infrastructure. It consisted of Android or iOS tablets or Alutel’s RAGTAB tablets operating on an Android system.
All tablets include built-in HID OMNIKEY smart card reader modules that can be used with both physical and mobile HID Global Seos credential technology for on-the-go authentication wherever it is needed, making them ideal for untraditional entrances like those found at mine sites. HID Global’s built-in reader modules also integrate and synchronize with the Alutel mobile app. The app readily connects with and accesses Newmont’s access control platform for employee authentication. Even when a non-Alutel tablet or device is used, the app will automatically detect and connect to the HID OMNIKEY reader via USB or Bluetooth.
To determine if they can enter the site or not, workers simply tap their company-issued Seos card to the HID OMNIKEY mobile reader embedded within the tablet. It displays their photo, name and a red or green screen based on their credentials. Information about their entry is relayed to Newmont’s access control platform, which can generate reports and perform additional functions as any other standard access control reader.
According to Tejeda, Newmont’s security staff has enjoyed the readers’ mobile functionality and usage has been intuitive. One of the biggest benefits of HID Global’s solution was the ability to add access control in remote areas, such as the underground mine entrances, where it’s impossible to install physical access control points. Because the Alutel Mobility solution stores the information they collect locally, they can function without a connection to a server and can gather and store as many as
500,000 events from as many as 100,000 people and validate this information upon reconnecting to the server. If the connection is interrupted, the device will automatically transfer the information it has collected once it re-connects. In addition, when guards encounter individuals, they can authenticate the cardholder’s access permissions by using their tablets to verify credentials.
“While we do have fixed readers in some locations, we also must identify employees in remote areas like the Mexican desert as well as vehicles that want to access these sites,” Tejada explained. “For the latter, security guards can approach with mobile reader in hand to determine if the individuals inside the bus, van, car or other vehicle may access the facility. Just like our two entry points in these remote locations, there is no fixed reader infrastructure for authenticating the vehicle’s driver and passengers, but with our mobile readers, all we need is an internet connection. It doesn’t even need to be continuous — we can download information periodically that was gathered during offline operation.”
The Alutel Mobility system also enables HID Global mobile readers to be installed inside vehicles. This means that Newmont could have employees scan their own Seos cards in the future, prior to boarding a bus or other transport. The Alutel Mobility solution also delivers GPS data, which allows an organization to pinpoint which individuals have entered the premises and at what time.
In average, approximately 112,000 authentication events occur in the plant each month, where Newmont employees use HID’s Seos cards, and, of that number, around 19,200 ID validations are processed by the RAGTAB tablets. “Previously, there was no control over who was on-site. We have gone from zero control to complete control,” Tejeda commented. “With HID Global and Alutel Mobility’s help, Newmont has been able to establish an innovative access control system that is optimized for our specific needs.”
While Newmont started with 21 RAGTAB tablets featuring the integrated HID OMNIKEY mobile readers, they are now planning to add eight more. “We even want to start using the access control system for things like food distribution,” Tejeda said. “This will significantly improve how we deliver lunch boxes to our workers, and there are a number of other potential capabilities to consider as we take advantage of this system’s capabilities for increasing safety and efficiency.”