Swedish Mining Innovation has announced the winning 26 projects that will benefit from €18-million in combined funding from the country’s innovation agency, Vinnova, and industry, to develop sustainable mining solutions.
The new projects cover a wide span - from disruptive communication technologies with energy-savings of up to 80%, to industrial-scale battery recycling and safe working environment.
Swedish Mining Innovation states that its planned call budget was €4.2-million, an increase from its previous levels of €2.3-million; however, owing to the large number of qualified proposals, Vinnova has increased its share of the financing to €8.2-million.
With the industry’s own financing of €10-million, the total project budget is more than €18-million.
“There is a momentum in the Swedish mining cluster right now. The companies are making enormous investments in innovation, which is also reflected in the response to our call. This year, we have received more project proposals than ever, and the industry is investing resources at an unprecedented scale,” comments Swedish Mining Innovation programme director Jenny Greberg.
Daniel Eklund, technical director at Boliden, which is one of the companies that has been involved in Swedish Mining Innovation since the start, says that Swedish Mining Innovation plays a unique role in the industry's innovation ecosystem.
“Through the call, we as a mining company have a platform for collaboration with research actors, smaller companies and other organisations to solve industry challenges that span a wide range. The projects generate important results in everything from gender equality and safety to the environment, climate and production efficiency,” says Eklund, who is also chairperson of the Swedish Mining Innovation board.
This year's approved projects aim, among other things, to reduce environmental and climate impact, streamline production, develop new sustainable offerings, improve the working environment and create conditions for a long-term successful supply of staff and skills in the industry.
Swedish Mining Innovation technology and innovation manager Lawrence Hooey says there is great breadth in this year's approved projects.
“One of the projects wants to develop a roadmap for creating attractive, inclusive and safe working conditions in connection with the industry's revolutionary digitalisation. Another wants to develop techniques for recycling used batteries and battery metals on an industrial scale. In a third, a process is being developed to reduce energy consumption in comminution, the process in mining operations that requires the most energy, by more than 80%. These are just a few examples.”
Swedish Mining Innovation distributes funds each year for a number of research and innovation projects, through an open call. The projects address the challenges defined in a strategic research and innovation agenda developed by the mining cluster. The proposals are assessed by Vinnova’s panel of independent national and international experts.
To date, 237 projects have been funded. The projects are often based on collaboration between large industrial companies, academia and institutes, smaller companies and startups, but also other types of organizations. Seventy-two project applications were received for the call, which closed in November 2021. Funding has been granted for a total of 12 prestudies, 13 full-scale projects and 1 pilot project (a total of 26 new projects).