Sweden announces $19.5 million grant for sustainable mining innovation

Control room at Garpenberg mine. Image from Boliden.

Swedish Mining Innovation has announced 26 new research and innovation projects, funded by Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova. The total budget of €18 million ($19.5m) has more than quadrupled compared to last year, the company said.

The new projects cover a wide span – from disruptive technologies with energy-savings of up to 80%, to industrial-scale battery recycling and safer working environment. The call, “Resource efficiency and sustainable production in the mining and metal-producing industry”, was open between May and November last year.

Due to the large number of qualified proposals, Swedish Mining Innovation via Vinnova increased its share of the financing to €8.2 million. Vinnova’s Advanced Digitalization program has financed projects with an especially strong connection to advanced digitalization with an additional €2 million. With the industry’s’ own financing of €10 million, the total project budget is over €18 million, shared between 26 projects.

“There is a momentum in the Swedish mining cluster right now,” Jenny Greberg, Swedish Mining Innovation programme director said in a news release. “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.”

“One of the government’s priorities is to drive the green and digital transition and create jobs with good conditions throughout Sweden,” Sweden’s Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson said.

“The transition involves electrification and digitalization of society and industry, it will require more metals and minerals,” Thorwaldsson said. “The great interest in the call shows a great need and innovative power in the industry, but also that the innovation program effectively supports and accelerates the development.”

“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 organizations to solve industry challenges that span a wide range,” said Daniel Eklund, technical director at Boliden and chairman of the Swedish Mining Innovation board. “The projects generate important results in everything from gender equality and safety to the environment, climate and production efficiency.”

This year’s approved projects aim 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.

View the winning projects here.