The Swedish mining group LKAB announced on Thursday that it has identified in the Kiruna region, in the far north of Sweden, “the largest known deposit” of rare earths in Europe, which would contain over one million tons of metals, writes Agerpres.
This discovery is important at a time when Europe is worried about its dependence, especially on China, the world’s largest producer, for the supply of these minerals which are mainly used to make electric vehicle batteries and wind turbine turbines.
“This is the largest known deposit of rare earth elements in our part of the world and could become an important basic element for the production of essential raw materials, absolutely crucial for the ecological transition,” emphasized the executive director of the public group, Jan Moström, quoted in a statement.
“We are facing a supply problem. Without me there can be no electric vehicles,” he argued.
According to preliminary estimates, the deposit in Kiruna, a large mining region in the Scandinavian country, contains more than “one million tons of rare earth oxides”, but the company emphasizes that it has not yet quantified its exact value.
There is still “a long way” to go before this deposit is exploited, LKAB warned.
“We expect it will take several years to study the deposit and the conditions for profitable and sustainable exploitation,” said Moström.
Asked at a press conference when he expected the first pickaxe to hit, he said it would depend largely on the speed with which mining permits are obtained, adding that in his experience it would likely take ” between 10 and 15 years”.
“The EU’s electrification, self-sufficiency and independence from Russia and China will start in the mine”, said the Swedish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Energy, Ebba Busch.
This announcement was made on the occasion of the visit of a delegation of the European Commission to Sweden, which took over the rotating presidency of the EU on January 1.
Tags: metals, deposit,
Publication date: 13-01-2023 08:46