It is now clear who the three finalists in this year’s Swedish Mining Innovation Award are. The prize awarded by the national strategic innovation program Swedish Mining Innovation rewards an innovation or a project that is of great importance to mining and innovation in Sweden.
The three finalists are Retenua AB for their robust solution that increases safety around autonomous vehicles underground, Hybrit for the world’s first hydrogen-reduced sponge iron in pellet form and the mining industry’s roadmap for biodiversity. The three finalists work in three completely different areas and all contribute to a sustainable industry and to put Swedish mining innovation on the international map.
Jenny Greberg, program director for Swedish Mining Innovation, and also chairman of the jury, finds it inspiring that the finalists are three very different innovations.
– Our finalists reflect the breadth of Swedish mining innovation and how the industry works in a number of areas, all of which are necessary to achieve the lofty goals linked to sustainability and competitiveness. Two of the finalists are clear guides in a global perspective, and the third is a solution linked to personal safety that can be applied in very many mines around the world, regardless of technological maturity. All of them are excellent examples of Swedish mining innovation, says Jenny.
Retenua’s solution, which is a very robust and simple solution to a problem of great importance, has previously been partly applied in other industries but has now been adapted for the mining industry and its demanding conditions. The technology simply consists of a solution for detecting people by seeing reflections. This is done with the help of an IR camera and AI-driven smart vision technology. As the solution does not require advanced communication systems, very many mines can adopt the innovation.
The finalist Hybrit, which is a collaborative project between LKAB, Vattenfall and SSAB, has during the summer presented the world’s first direct-reduced sponge iron in pellet form reduced with hydrogen. The goal is carbon dioxide-free steel production, from mining to finished steel, and the hydrogen-reduced sponge iron is crucial for creating a completely fossil-free process. This is part of a solution to a problem that is in a global focus, the impact of industry on the climate.
The third finalist differs from the more technical innovations and is the mining industry’s roadmap for biodiversity. The industry-wide roadmap is an innovation in itself as it is the first of its kind. Although we in Sweden today have over 20 roadmaps for climate-free competitiveness in widely differing industries, there was no similar initiative in terms of biodiversity. The roadmap is called Mining with Nature and the work has been led by the industry organization Svemin.
The jury consists of chairman Jenny Greberg, Program director Swedish Mining Innovation, Lennart Evrell, board member SCA, SSAB, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, ICA and Epiroc, Maria Sunér Flemming, CEO Svemin and Cecilia Sjöberg, Head of Industrial Technologies, Vinnova.
In the coming week, the three finalists will be presented in more detail, and the final winner of the Swedish Mining Innovation Award will be crowned at Svemin’s Autumn Meeting at Nalen in Stockholm on 18 November.