“Our prosperity has been built on the long tradition of the mining industry”

The mining and metal extraction industry plays a very strong role in Sweden. Not only does it have a long tradition; it also supplies many other industries with the raw materials they need. But its importance is not confined to Sweden. The Swedish mining industry is an important player internationally – even a world leader.

– The mining industry’s long tradition has built our prosperity. It also forms the basis for many other industries’ value chains. Sweden is also the nation driving forward sustainability issues in this sector internationally. For a start, we are at the forefront of innovative solutions in electrified and automated mines. Sweden is a small country compared to many others, so it’s particularly exciting that we are so far ahead in these solutions, and we are collaborating with many other countries to ensure that Swedish solutions spread globally, says Lotta Sartz, who is responsible for the Bergslagen area within Swedish Mining Innovation.

Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas have made a joint initiative on start-up innovation areas and one result of this is Swedish Mining Innovation. Swedish Mining Innovation works to strengthen the innovation and competitiveness of the Swedish mining and metal extraction sector.

– We are one of 17 national innovation programmes funded by Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas. We are on a twelve-year programme, and we have now completed the first nine years. Our aim is to mobilise industry to increase competitiveness and sustainability. And we believe that it is through joint innovation projects that we can achieve this.

Innovation to address common challenges

Although Sweden is at the forefront in this sector there are still challenges that need to be solved together.

– In this area, it’s really important that we use everything we mine and achieve energy and resource efficiency in the process. We have very demanding goals in terms of biodiversity and becoming fossil free. And that is a big challenge in itself. We also need to ensure access to skills as well as green energy to enable more solutions.

Swedish Mining Innovation is working to solve these challenges through innovation projects throughout the value chain.

– We are involved in many different projects. From the research stage, before finding metals and minerals, to active mining and post-production. We also work on social sustainability. Innovation projects can be partly about technology but also about softer values like community contacts and the workforce. We’re part of society and society requires metals and minerals to function. But we have to do it in the best way possible. So, on the one hand, the projects are to increase productivity and cost-effectiveness, and on the other to reduce climate impact. But also to build sustainable societies with all that implies, Lotta concludes.

Lotta Sartz and Swedish Mining Innovation are at ProcessTeknik 2022. Lotta will take the stage there on 18 October to tell us more about the organisation, what projects they have going on right now and also what they are looking for in terms of projects going forward.

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