Significant deposits of rare earths have been discovered in the far north of Sweden, which are required, among other things, for the construction of electric cars and wind turbines. As the Swedish mining group LKAB announced on Thursday, over a million tons of rare earth oxides were found near Kiruna. It is the largest known deposit of this type in Europe. It could become an important building block for the production of important raw materials that are absolutely crucial for the green transition, said CEO Jan Moström.
According to Moström, it is difficult to estimate how large the deposits are compared to others outside of Europe. The reason is that a large part of the mining is currently taking place in China and the size of the deposits there is unclear, he said at a press conference in Kiruna. It is clear, however, that the deposit in Sweden is also large in international comparison.
According to the LKAB, the road to the possible degradation of the metals is long. The first step is to apply for a dismantling permit. The plan is to submit a corresponding application later this year. In view of other permitting processes in the industry, it is likely to take at least ten to 15 years before mining can actually begin and raw materials can be brought to market.
Mining projects like those in Sweden are to be given more support from Brussels. Ursula von der Leyen’s EU Commission wants to propose measures this spring to strengthen Europe’s strategic autonomy in relation to critical raw materials. Another argument is that without this autonomy there can be no ecological and digital change. For important batteries, one is 100 percent dependent on imports, said Sweden’s Energy and Economy Minister Ebba Busch. We look forward to the Commission’s proposed proposals with great expectations.
Valuable – rare earths: That’s behind the popular metals