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Minnovare Drilling Down: Case Study - Styrud Arctic, Sweden
Austmine Limited

Minnovare Drilling Down: Case Study - Styrud Arctic, Sweden

Minnovare was founded in 2013 with a desire to improve the overall productivity of exploration drilling within the mining industry. While others looked to improve productivity by focusing on what was happening down the hole, at Minnovare, the team approached the problem from a different angle; by focussing on the critical processes that occur prior to drilling commencing.

These processes ultimately have a far greater impact on drilling productivity and quality. Examining the traditional rig alignment procedure, a slow and inefficient process was identified – typically involving an on-site surveyor and a simple string line. It was this key process that Minnovare set about changing, forever.

With a clear industry need identified, Minnovare developed a prototype solution, and the Azimuth Aligner was born. In this article, we take a look at how the Azimuth Aligner significantly reduced rig down-time at the world's largest underground iron ore mine; some 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle! 

Location: Swedish Lapland
Industry: Mining
Client: Styrud Arctic AB
Specialisation: Underground Diamond Drilling
Year: 2017 

Styrud Arctic is a renowned European drilling contractor working for State-owned LKAB Mining in Sweden. The Kiruna mine site is the world’s largest underground iron ore mine, located in some of the most challenging conditions on the planet – some 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle!

Issues on Site:

The close proximity to the magnetic North Pole, coupled with freezing cold temperatures, meant that the drilling contractor had always found it difficult to gain accurate readings from traditional gyroscopic measurement devices. 

This would lead to holes having to be re-drilled; a costly and time-consuming exercise - particularly given the overall size of the mine (over 330km of underground road).  Rig down-time was unacceptably long whenever holes had to be re-located.  For example, surveyors may not be able to arrive on-site for between 3-5 hours.

This impacted significantly on productivity for the drilling contractor and the mine, who were forced to wait overtime for core samples – leading to delays further down the track into production.

The Solution:

Minnovare’s Azimuth Aligner (AA) is the most reliable drill-rig alignment technology in the world (accurate to within +/-0.2°).  Minnovare's engineers joined a team of (somewhat understandably) sceptical surveyors and geologists and travelled to the most magnetic parts of the mine to survey the AA’s accuracy.

In every situation the AA performed better than expected – providing the most accurate down-hole alignments ever recorded at the mine, despite the highly challenging conditions. 

The drill rig set-ups were completed within just five minutes, with no assistance required from surveyors, thanks to the Azimuth Aligner.

The Result:

The vastly improved accuracy ensured the drill teams achieved minimal deviation from the plan, and with rig set-up achieved in minutes, the potential for extended down-time was effectively eliminated.

The gains for Styrud Arctic have been dramatic: The AA immediately contributed to an increase in the average metres drilled per shift and revenue per operating rig (ARPOR).  For the mine, core sample delivery times were slashed and the cost-per-drilled metre significantly reduced. 

All of which translates to a substantial increase on the bottom line for both the drilling contractor and the end client.

“The Azimuth Aligner saved us a lot of time. It performed exactly as promised, which is not always the case with equipment suppliers!” - Joakim Kemi (pictured), Managing Director, Styrud Arctic.

For more information on this case study and/or the Azimuth Aligner, contact Minnovare on +61 8 6444 6697 or visit their website at

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