Accurate GPS/GNSS for mining in the toughest environments


Deep in the Amazon jungle, in November 2021, mining works are underway. Jim Elkins flew from Arizona to visit the mine, answering an urgent call for help: GPS receivers aboard the drill rigs were not working. Jim is a specialist in mining and automation, working for Flanders, a US-based company with expertise in electrical machinery and control systems. Flanders pioneers machine control technology that takes mining efficiency to the next level. The drill rigs at the mine create holes with centimeter precision, ensuring optimal fragmentation of rock. This makes subsequent jobs like stone extraction and removal faster and easier.  

Watch this video to see ARDVARC in action, drilling surface blast holes with cm-level accuracy for best fragmentation possible.

Robust GNSS works in any environment

Difficult environments such as areas close to the magnetic equator, or to the poles can pose a challenge for GPS receivers. These places tend to experience the most intense ionospheric scintillations, resulting from rapid fluctuations in the electron density in the ionosphere. Such scintillations affect GPS/GNSS signals that travel from space to Earth causing degradation of positioning accuracy or even positioning loss. To fix the GPS problem in the amazon mine, and to resume the mining process, Jim helped install the ARDVARC  control system, replacing all the GPS receivers aboard the drill rigs with Septentrio AsteRx-U GNSS* receivers. These receivers are robust inside and out. Housed in a tough IP67 enclosure they run Septentrio’s proprietary GNSS+ algorithms including IONO+, which ensure high accuracy positioning even during ionospheric scintillations. With AsteRx-U receivers onboard the drill rigs resumed their work immediately, preparing the ground for the next blast.

We’ve had Septentrio GNSS receivers in our control systems for the last 3 years and I’ve never had any complaints about accuracy or integration. The AsteRx-U is extremely accurate and operates in difficult environments in places like Brazil, western Australia, South Africa as well as North America.

Jim Elkins
Global Business Development, Mining and Automation

The ARDVAC drill control system with the toughest GNSS :

  • Operates fully autonomously with auto-propel and autonomous movement from hole to hole ;
  • Multiple machines are monitored by a single person from a safe distance
  • AsteRx-U multi-frequency multi-constellation GPS/GNSS receivers for positioning accuracy within 10 cm
  • IONO+ reduces the impact of ionospheric scintillation in areas where significant irregularities in electron density are present in the ionosphere places of high solar activity
  • LOCK+ ensures robust signal tracking during strong vibrations or shocks
  • AIM+ Advanced Interference Mitigation technology protects against RF interference, jamming and/or spoofing 

*Global Navigation Satellite System including the American GPS, European Galileo, Russian GLONASS, Chinese BeiDou, Japan’s QZSS and India’s NavIC. These satellite constellations broadcast positioning information to receivers which use it to calculate their absolute position.


About Flanders: True experts in electrical machines, FLANDERS specializes in the development, manufacturing, integration, and deployment of advanced technologies for the world’s largest machines with electric rotating systems. Over seven decades, Flanders have built a rock-solid reputation as an ultra-responsive, expert repair services provider, custom manufacturer, and developer of pioneering technologies to optimize machine assets