From climate neutral mining to fossil-free steel, from fossil-free steel to construction equipment machines and electrified heavy-duty trucks. From copper and graphite to batteries. Some of the most essential green value chains in Sweden are represented today as the EU Commission and Swedish government visit Kiruna. These value chains give Sweden a first mover advantage – but success is not guaranteed, not quite yet.
The North of Sweden is experiencing a new industrial revolution linked to fossil-free production of raw materials and electrification; green value chains starting in the bedrock. This is high on the agenda of the first political summit of the Swedish EU presidency in Kiruna.
Svemin, the Association of Mining, Mineral and Metal Producers, is coordinating a unique exhbition “Value chains for the twin transition” at the summit venue in central Kiruna.
– We are illustrating examples of fossil-free value chains starting in the bedrock of Northern Sweden. The companies present are some of the most important actors contributing to the EU ambition to become climate neutral by 2050, says Maria Sunér, CEO of Svemin.
The world is facing a transition from fossil-based energy solutions to new fossil independent and often mineral- or metal-based solutions. To meet the goal of net zero emissions globally, six times more metals and minerals than today are needed – and many times more for some specific energy-critical metals, according to IEA, International Energy Agency. The mining industry will thus play an important role in supplying the raw materials needed for the twin transition and lay the foundation for long value chains. The new geopolitical situation in Europe has also uncovered our dependency on raw materials.
– Raw materials are essential to sustain Europe’s climate ambitions as well as our independance. Without mining and smelting of metals and minerals, it is not possible to produce the technologies required for the green transition, says Mikael Staffas, CEO of Boliden, mining and metal production company. The upcoming Critical Raw Materials Act is therefore key.
Mr Staffas is in Kiruna together with Jan Moström, CEO of mining company LKAB.
– To put it short, the green transition starts in the mine, says Jan Moström. Speed and determination are essential. EU has shown the ability during Covid; vaccine production and coordination was impressive and REPowerEU is promising. Now, we need the same mindset in creating an Agenda for Green Competitiveness and maintain resilient value chains here in Europe.
Swedish industry is a global front runner in innovative and green technology.
– Our industry transformation is clearly driven by demand which means true innovation happens when you want it to, not when it has to, says Martin Lundstedt, CEO of Volvo Group. The green transformation is more than a response to climate change, it is a business opportunity to increase self-sufficiency and growth of low carbon technologies with speed and determination, in tandem with climate benefits. Partnership in the value chains are essential, connecting demand-supply-infrastructure.
He brought a 30-ton dumper truck (see picture) to Kiruna to showcase to EU Commissioners that the transformation is happening here and now. The dumper has been built using fossil-free steel, produced by SSAB, a steel company with a leading position in high-strength steels.
Martin Lindqvist, CEO of SSAB, is also present in Kiruna, agrees with Mr. Lundstedt.
– Partnerships and value chain cooperation are key – they strengthen competitiveness and create business opportunities. The EU should agree on a Green Competitiveness Agenda with an enabling framework that accelerates transition. It is also important to secure a level playing field within EU and on global markets, including leading the way towards internationally agreed green standards, Mr Lindqvist says.
The demand for fossil free steel is undeniably high.
– We are a greenfield company that has already pre-sold 60 percent of our initial volumes. To ensure greater speed in the transformation of the steel industry, the EU must make sure that allocation benchmarks and funding mechanisms support startups and new technologies, as well as incumbent players, says Henrik Henriksson, CEO of H2 Green Steel.
The Swedish industry welcomes the Swedish Presidency’s ambition to seek to anchor a concerted approach to European competitiveness at the top of the political agenda, as well as green and energy transitions.
– Responsible mining and refinement of critical raw materials, such as the graphite in northern Sweden, is critical in facilitating the shift towards a fossil free European economy. We need policy to reflect this on all levels to speed up electrification, says Martin Phillips, CEO of Talga, graphite mining and battery anode producer.
The sence of urgency is tangible among the industry leaders.
– We are at a critical juncture, both when it comes to access to raw materials and support for building a larger ecosystem for European green technology. The situation calls for incredibly strong cooperation between private sector and public leadership within the EU to pave the way for a fast and comprehensive green transition, says Peter Carlsson, CEO of Northvolt, battery producer.
The exhibition “Value Chains for the Twin Transition” is coordinated by Svemin, Swedish Association of Mines, Mineral and Metal Producers.
Emma Härdmark, Director Communications Svemin, email@example.com, + 46 (0)703-466048
Linus Ljungström, Project Manager Communications Svemin, firstname.lastname@example.org, + 46 (0)707 82 68 37