News JVTech Discovery of the largest rare earth deposit in Europe! Towards technological independence
Published on 01/12/2023 at 13:36
Sweden’s largest mining group has just discovered an absolutely colossal rare earth deposit. It is the largest in Europe and a discovery that opens the door to European technological independence.
A gigantic rare earth deposit
We often talk about
without really knowing what that means. This is ore, not necessarily rare, but complex and expensive to extract. Deposits are often in geographic areas where labor and environmental friendliness are not a priority. It is for this reason that today the goal is to find technologies that no longer require this type of material.
On the other hand, in
of the mining company LKAB, they announce this Thursday, January 12 the discovery in the region of Kiruna, in the north of Sweden “the largest known deposit” in Europe. This is a discovery that could directly benefit Europe.
Jan Moström, Chairman and CEO of the LKAB Group states in a press release:
This is good news, not only for LKAB, the region and the Swedes, 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 element in producing the critical raw materials that are absolutely crucial to enabling the green transition. We are facing a supply problem. Without mines, there can be no electric vehicles
Become independent thanks to European rare earths
Having a deposit of this size within Europe means that we will be less and less dependent on countries like China or Russia. International relations will greatly benefit from the exploitation of such a mine.
Sweden’s Minister of Energy, Trade and Industry Ebba Busch explains:
We need to strengthen industrial value chains in Europe and create real opportunities for the electrification of our societies. The policy must give industry the conditions to switch to green and fossil-free production. Here, the Swedish mining industry has a lot to offer. The need for minerals to complete the transition is great.
This rare earth deposit will also encourage manufacturers to develop new factories within Europe itself. This means locally producing batteries, motors or microcomponents.
If the industrialist LKAB describes that the first permits will be sent this year, it will take some time to drill the 700 meters deep in order to reach the ores.
The only problem is not only technical, but also institutional. Europe wants to push for greater independence in the production of critical raw materials within its borders. Yet, according to mining company estimates, it will take at least 10 years to really start the extraction and deliver the first loads.
For the CEO of the group: “We must modify the authorization processes to ensure increased exploitation of this type of raw material in Europe. Access is today a crucial risk factor both for the competitiveness of European industry and for climate transition.”
The extraction being also polluting, it will also be a question of convincing the environmental associations not to block the project. It is both a very polluting project, but which in the long term makes it possible to produce components that are essential today. As long as the world cannot manage to do without rare earths, we will have to be content with local projects.
The deposit represents more than one million tons of metals and would be sufficient to absorb European demand for electric cars, wind turbines or permanent magnet motors.