A new field of rare earth materials has been found in Sweden, and it is the largest one in Europe. But why is this discovery so important?
The more massive rare earth materials deposit all over Europe has been discovered in Kiruma, north of Sweden, by LKAB, a mining company. According to first estimates, this field could be able to provide rare earth materials starting to over a million tons of rare earths oxides. But, again, why is this finding so important?
Rare earth materials are chemical elements that, in the last few years, are becoming more and more important for the ecological transition context. In fact, such metals are essentials to produce electric car batteries and wind turbines, at least until cheaper and more abundant alternatives will be found. European Commission has evaluated an increase of 5 times in their demand within 2030.
Currently, Europe imports almost all rare earth materials needed from overseas markets: having a rare earth elements field in Europe over the next few years could have a key role for their supply.
Jan Mostrom, CEO of the Swedish mining company, affirms during a release:
« This is the biggest rare earth materials field in this world’s part, and it could become an important step for the production of raw materials that are critical for the green transition […]. We are facing a supply issue. Without it, there can’t be any electrical vehicles. »
Although this is an encouraging step, we must consider that this option won’t be possible earlier than approximately ten years. Now many preliminary tests need to be done in order to well comprehend how this deposit works and how many rare earth elements can provide. Just after this, it will be possible to get the extractive permissions that are necessary to start realizing this mine.
That is why first extraction won’t be done earlier than 10/15 years from now, as Company states.