On 12 January, Sweden's state-owned mining company LKAB announced it had discovered Europe's largest rare earth elements (REE) deposit in Sweden's far north. The deposit contains praseodymium or neodymium oxides, which are used to produce the special magnets used in electric vehicles.
This discovery could be major for the European critical raw materials industry, which currently depends on only a few world partners, 98% on China for REE. These materials are crucial in enabling the green and digital transition the EU is aiming for.
According to LKAB's CEO Jan Mostrom, the materials found may not reach the market before 15 years, as permitting processes take time due to environmental risk evaluations. Mr. Mostrom called on authorities to speed up the process, "to ensure increased mining of this type of raw material in Europe" (Chatterjee, Huge Rare Earth Metals Discovery in Arctic Sweden 2023).
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