Sweden finds the largest rare earth deposit in Europe. It could help cut dependence on China

Hong Kong

Swedish mining corporation LKAB states it has identified Europe’s biggest deposit of rare earth oxides in the country’s north, a discovery that could lower the continent’s reliance on China for the vital useful resource.

Uncommon earth minerals perform a key function in producing clear electricity and generating electrical cars and buyer electronics. But the market is dominated by China, which accounts for 60% of worldwide creation, according to the US Geological Support.

LKAB has determined much more than one particular million tonnes of uncommon earth oxides in the Kiruna space, situated in the much north of the state, the firm claimed in a statement on Thursday.

“This is excellent news, not only for LKAB, the location and the Swedish individuals, but also for Europe and the local climate,” mentioned Jan Moström, president and team CEO of LKAB.

No unusual earth things are presently staying mined in Europe, leaving it dependent on imports. The European Union gets 98% of the minerals from China, in accordance to the European Commission.

But desire is envisioned to surge as a end result of electrification, which will direct to a global “undersupply” at a time of growing geopolitical tensions, LKAB reported.

The firm added that the region’s dependence on China for scarce earth minerals will increase the vulnerability of European industry.

“Electrification, the European Union’s self-sufficiency and independence from Russia and China will start out in the mine,” explained Ebba Busch, Sweden’s minister for electricity, enterprise and market, in the similar statement. “We have to have to improve industrial price chains in Europe and make real opportunities for the electrification of our societies. “

Still, the road to mining the deposits is extensive, LKAB added. It plans to post an application for a permit later on this yr.

“If we glimpse at how other permit procedures have labored within just our business, it will be at least 10-15 yrs ahead of we can really get started mining and provide uncooked materials to the current market,” it reported.

Supplied its importance in the tech market, exceptional earths have turn into just one of the key fronts in the US-China competitiveness as nicely.

The United States, which has lengthy relied on China for the minerals, is trying to find to improve its domestic supply chain to arise as a dominant world-wide player. In 2021, the Biden administration qualified scarce earths, among the other domestic supply chain priorities, to minimize the vulnerability of these industries to geopolitical stress.