RockSigma and NorrSpect had the most promising innovative ideas 2024


The last Innovation Idea Competition is now over, and the competition offered many great and innovative ideas. During the pitch event, the innovators had the opportunity to refine their ideas and demonstrate why their concepts were the most valuable and exciting for the mining industry.

The presentations were of exceptionally high quality this year, making it challenging for the jury to rank the ideas, says Lotta Sartz, Chair of the jury. Ultimately, the jury chose two winners whose ideas stood out as having the potential to make a significant impact on the mining industry globally. They will receive SEK 600,000 each to take their idea further.

The two winners are:

RockSigma ABNext Generation Processing for Distributed Acoustic Sensing” Title in application: Nextgen Microseismic Processing for Distributed Acoustic Sensing Data. 

Motivation from the jury
“This is a very strong and innovative team with an idea that has the potential to revolutionize the mining industry with its cutting-edge solutions. In the future, we need to mine smarter and deeper, and since safety is always our highest priority, this seismic processing solution, which enables safe operations at greater depths, was very appealing to the jury. The combination of its potential high impact on the global mining industry made this idea a true success”.

NorrSpect AB – “Visual Inspection”
Title in application: Real-Time Camera Detection, Classification and Analysis of Rocks in Mining.

Motivation from the jury
“This idea is very interesting as it is a software tool that can be used together with existing equipment. It enables the use of regular cameras for process analysis in mines, positively impacting efficiency, safety, sustainability, and environmental responsibility. It utilizes technology and data-driven insights to create a more efficient and safer mining industry. The team is very driven, with innovative solutions that would be highly valuable to the mining industry. They have experience working with large companies before but are new to the mining industry”.

The work of the jury
– We received 16 applications for the Innovation Idea Competition, and the first jury meeting was held in Luleå during the Swedish Mining Innovation Research and Innovation Days in May. During this meeting, the jury selected eight ideas to advance to the next stage, which involved to pitch the idea in front of the jury, says Lotta Sartz.

The jury, composed of industry representatives, is well aware of the challenges we face in ensuring a sustainable future supply of metals and minerals for the green transition. We need to mine smarter, optimize processes, reduce environmental impact, find value in mining waste, improve recycling, and enhance safety as we mine deeper. Additionally, we must minimize waste production, better educate mine workers, and make the industry more attractive as a workplace. The eight ideas selected for the pitch event all addressed these critical challenges.

RockSigma AB

The RockSigma Team: Magnus Stenfelt, Wille Törnman, Emil Svanberg, Elliot Huber, Suad Huseynli & Jesper Martinsson. (Not in picture; Ivan Sedelkin & Olivia Norberg)

Interview with Emil Svanberg, who pitched for RockSigma AB

Congratulations on winning! How does it feel?
We are humbled to win among such strong competitors. It feels amazing!

Tell us briefly about your innovative idea!
The idea is to fill a current gap in the market with the world’s first mine scale seismic processing solution for Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS). That sounds very technical, but essentially, we will be the first to market with a software capable of processing the massive amounts of data generated by DAS systems as they are installed in mines. This will radically improve how mine operators can manage seismic risk and hazard.

The team behind RockSigma won this competition 2021 (as RS Solutions AB). What does winning mean for you as a company?
It is an important and very timely financial contribution that will allow us to focus on the specific opportunity that our proposal is all about, building the world’s first mine scale seismic processing solution for Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS).

Is it your first time pitching an idea to a jury?
No, I’ve been fortunate enough to have lots of practice over a long career, often trying to find support for innovative ideas.  The pitch worked well and I felt that the main messages landed well, even though I forgot to mention one or two things I had planned to say.  The jury was very friendly and professional, they created a welcoming atmosphere for pitching!

What is the next step after you have received the funding?
We have done some basic proof-of-concept with this technology before and we are now ready to get to work on building out a robust product version. It is very likely that we will look to expand the team as we do this work.

You are not new to the mining sector, but how do you see the future and the opportunities that comes with another win? Do you think this win will help you go even higher?
The opportunity to scale outside of mining is built in with this particular idea.  The DAS technology is used in other sectors, such as energy, where they also lack the kind of super high quality data processing that we provide.  With a proven mining solution, we will be able to grow into energy.

NorrSpect AB

The NorrSpect AB Team: Ulrik Söderström & Aman Malhotra

Interview with Ulrik Söderström & Aman Malhotra, NorrSpect AB

Congratulations on winning!
It feels absolutely fantastic! Since we haven’t worked with the mining sector before we weren’t certain on how our idea would be perceived. So, winning with our idea feels really good.

Tell us briefly about your innovative idea!
We build retrofittable visual inspection software for the industry. With retrofittable we mean that our software can work with existing infrastructure, so there is no need to install new, probably expensive, cameras and computers. Our software can do many different things that can be useful in the mining industry, for example, detection, classification, and assistive services (virtual fencing and others).

Is this your first time pitching an idea to a jury? How did it go?
We have done several pitches before, but not in front of a jury, so this was the first time for that. We feel that the pitch went really well, and we also believe that is a major reason for us winning.

What is the next step after you have received the funding?
We want to start using the funding to develop and talk with mining companies and see where our software can be used. We would also like to understand where they would have a benefit of using it. Then, we want to kick off with a pilot and evaluate the result from that installation.

You are new to the mining sector; how do you see the future and the opportunities that will hopefully arise from winning this competition?
The future looks promising! We see countless opportunities for our idea. The mining industry already uses cameras for various purposes, and with so many cameras in place, the potential for our algorithm is enormous. Since our solution integrates seamlessly with existing camera systems, this opens up a world of possibilities for us.

Winning this competition will give us funds to actually take the step and work with the mining industry directly. Without the funds from SMI, we would need to gain funding from our other projects and that would mean that we must wait to work with the mining industry. Now, we can start directly.

Thank you for all the fantastic entries we have received this year but also since the start of this competition 10 years ago. Thank you to everyone who has been on the jury and produced such great winners over the years and the whole team behind the event. Finally, we would like to thank the eight companies that pitched their ideas this year. Keep up the good work and thank you for having such great ideas that can make a difference!


Erik Ronne, Research Manager Sustainability at Boliden, talks about the event.



Photo: Moa Thorneus


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