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Home >> Customers >> Success Stories >> Merlin Diamonds

ISYS - The Diamond In the Rough

Merlin Diamond Mine is a project conducted by Ashton Mining, a major Australian diamond producer and world wide explorer. Producing mostly gem quality diamonds, Merlin is situated in Australia's Northern Territory, near the Gulf of Carpentaria. In development since 1993, the mine began producing its first diamonds in February 1999.

As one can imagine, security issues in a diamond mine are a very serious affair and Merlin security purchased ISYS to assist them in the analysis of both employee behavior and external criminal behavior.

Jeff Corkill, Manager for Merlin Security Intelligence, is a former member of the Australian Defense Force and it was there that he first came in contact with ISYS. When he started with Merlin, he immediately thought of ISYS to assist with mine security.

Security Intelligence mostly consists of identifying 'patterns of normalcy' within the working environment, in an attempt to be in a better position to perceive abnormal behavior. As a standard example, a particular task can be established as taking the average employee 15-20 minutes. Obviously, different people perform at different speeds, so there is a deviation calculated of 3-4 minutes each way. If the task suddenly were to take 40 minutes, then this would be highlighted for investigation.

There could, however, be a very good reason for the extra time, and the 40 minutes might have to be factored into the analysis as something that happens, say, every month. On the other hand, the sudden extension in time may also indicate something more sinister.

When you consider the number of tasks involved in the day-to-day running of a diamond mine as well as the number of employees and the need to monitor shift times and procedures, the size and scope of Merlin Security's task becomes quite daunting. This is where ISYS comes into play. Merlin Security has spreadsheets, SQL databases and various other documents that all contribute to behavioral analysis. ISYS supplies swift access to material, providing all relevant references in seconds.

One of the major benefits of ISYS is that with an advanced Synonym Ring, it is possible to establish relationships between seemingly unrelated elements of information. "This is where the benefits of ISYS will really become apparent," said Corkill. "One of our key ongoing concerns is identifying trends and relationships in data and ISYS will play a significant role in this regard."

Diamond thieves can get extremely creative. Incidents in other countries include placing diamonds in any body orifice; cutting oneself and putting the diamonds inside the wounds; smuggling homing pigeons into the mine, strapping diamonds the bird's legs and sending them home; and even having tools surgically embedded into their bodies to achieve their aims.

In many countries, diamond companies regularly x-ray their employees but this is not a practical preventative measure according to Australian officials. Whilst diamonds are fluorescent under x-ray, it is impossible to x-ray people on a regular enough basis without endangering their health and if the procedure is not performed every day, then the benefit is muted.

Plans are in place for Merlin to add ISYS:image to the Security Division so that paper-based material can be added to the ISYS database. There are several specialist trade magazines and a lot of general media material that can be of use to the mine security personnel. When dealing with such a rare and expensive commodity, any reports of organized crime organizations as well as all robberies concerning diamonds are of importance. "If for example, a Melbourne jewelry store is robbed, it’s worth our noting," said Corkill. "If someone is stealing cut and polished diamonds from anywhere in Australia, there is always the concern that they'll turn their attention to the uncut variety. You can never know what might be important."

The more material the mine accumulates, the more advantageous ISYS becomes. "ISYS should continue to simplify the entire process and make analysis much less manpower intensive," said Corkill.



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