Why we write about this topic:
Rare metals play an important role in the energy transition. They are needed for wind turbines and solar panels, among other things.
Sweden has found the largest amount of rare earths ever found in Europe. So says mining company LKAB in a press release. These are raw materials needed for solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars, among other things.
The company today reports more than one million tons of rare earths. “This is good news, not only for LKAB, the region and the Swedish people, but also for Europe and the climate. This is the largest known deposit of rare earth elements in our part of the world, and it could become an important building block for the production of the critical raw materials that are absolutely crucial to enable the green transition. We face a supply problem. Without mines, there are no electric vehicles,” said Jan Moström, President and Group CEO of LKAB.
No rare earth elements are currently mined in Europe, while demand is expected to increase dramatically due to global electrification. In time, this could lead to a global shortage, and this at a time of increasing geopolitical tensions. According to the European Commission’s assessment, demand for rare earth elements for electric cars, wind turbines and others will increase more than fivefold by 2030. Currently, Europe also depends on imports of these minerals, with China completely dominating the market, a factor that increases the vulnerability of European industry.
A long way to go
However, it will take some time before the resources are actually being extracted. The first step is an application for an operating concession for the Per Geijer deposit. The plan is to apply for an operating concession in 2023. LKAB has already begun preparations for detailed exploration of the resources at a depth of 700 meters.
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