Mining is one of the most invasive methods of natural resource extraction, yet it remains an essential industry for manufacturing and continued economic growth. Sweden, a country known for its advanced environmental awareness, still participates in mining some of the most in demand materials, such as lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel, and copper. As other means of acquiring these materials, like recycling, prove unfeasible with our current technology, mining is likely to remain an active industry well into our foreseeable future.
However, it need not be at the expense of the environment. Sweden has just announced an initiative to invest $19.5 Million in innovative projects for more sustainable mining. Vinnova, a Swedish government agency dedicated to developing innovations for efficiency and sustainability, has partnered with the Swedish Mining Innovation to fund 26 projects in sustainable mining. Upon calling for proposals in the sector, the initiative was flooded with responses. This unprecedented interest in sustainable mining by innovators motivated them to increase both their budget and the initiative’s scope.
This year’s projects are set to reduce the Swedish mining cluster’s environmental impact and streamline production, while confronting other concerns and challenges in the industry. Some projects aim to increase the efficiency of the industry, reducing material wastage and energy consumption. While others seek to improve the digitization of the industry, as well as promote digitization elsewhere. Another important aspect of the initiative is to create more sustainable and clean jobs that offer Swedish workers good working conditions.