Europe’s largest known deposit of rare earth elements — key for building electric vehicle batteries and wind turbines — has been discovered in northern Sweden, mining company LKAB announced today.
The Swedish company found a deposit of rare earth metals exceeding 1 million tons of rare earth oxides.
“This is the largest known deposit of rare earth elements in our part of the world, and it could become a significant building block for producing the critical raw materials that are absolutely crucial to enable the green transition,” said Jan Moström, the company’s president and CEO.
No rare earth elements are currently mined in Europe, with China providing nearly 98 percent of the EU’s supply.
According to the European Commission, demand for these elements is expected to increase more than fivefold by 2030, as they are needed for building digital and green technologies.
Given current permitting processes, it could take between 10 and 15 years for operations begin at the Kiruna mine, where the deposits were found, said Moström.
He called on Brussels to speed up and streamline those processes as part of its Critical Raw Materials Act, which is slated to be announced on March 14.
“Politics must give the industry the conditions to switch to green and fossil-free production,” Sweden’s Energy and Industry Minister Ebba Busch said in response to the news.