Here are Sweden’s best new ideas for sustainable mining


VAST and MycoMine – these are the companies behind Sweden’s best innovation ideas for sustainable mining. It is Swedish Mining Innovation’s Expert Jury that annually selects the winners through its innovation idea competition, which was recently held in Luleå.

This year’s innovation idea competition attracted record interest as 25 entries were received. The jury selected eight entries to pitch in front of them and the audience in Luleå on March 15. The jury, which this year included international members, has chosen to appoint two winners.

Matt Baida and Frida Holst, VAST.

VAST  has presented a new methodology for the integration of a large-scale geomorphic design for handling waste rock in order to minimize handling and form a stable landscape to fit the natural surroundings. The goal is to move the waste rock only once. This provides increased efficiency, reduced costs, minimized pollution loads, reduced C02 emissions and, also very importantly, to leave a safe and natural-looking landscape.

– Wow. This win means a lot to our company which is striving for technical solutions that will advance the digitalisation and automation of geomorphic reclamation. This helps us to turn the spotlight from the industry on geomorphic design, which will hopefully become the catalyst for companies to adopt the approach and understand its benefits – which can gain investor confidence and community trust, says Frida Holst, co-founder VAST.

Björn Ohlsén, Magnus Ivarsson, Kristoffer Palmgren and Oona Snoeyenbos-West 

MycoMine presented an idea for extracting copper from mine waste using fungi. The method is expected to play a major role in reducing emissions of metals from mining activities, which is important for achieving a long-term sustainable mining industry.

-I am very happy and proud of the team behind MycoMine for all the hard work that has led up to this point. This prize will enable us to develop a cost-effective and sustainable system for mycoremediation (fungi-based concentration) of Cu and in the long run other elements like REE. With this prize we get an opportunity to make a difference for the environment and for sustainable mining, says Magnus Ivarsson, CEO MycoMine.

Matz Sandström, Swedish Mining innovation and chairman of the jury, is impressed by the variety and ambitions of the competition entries.

– There was very high quality in all eight pitching contributions, so it feels great to be able to choose two winners again this year. Both winners presented ideas that in different ways contribute to a sustainable and long-term mining industry. This is very timely and we look forward to seeing how they develop their innovative ideas further.

SEK 1 200 000 for development

The two winning companies now have the opportunity to receive funding of 600,000 each, by starting a project to take their innovative idea further with funding from Vinnova.

Everyone who participated in the competition will receive help from Swedish Mining Innovation to find ways to take their idea further, for example through the program’s open call or directly with an industrial company.


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