Europe’s largest deposit of rare earth metals found in Sweden
Per Geijer find, just north of the company’s largest iron ore mine in the Swedish Arctic, is estimated to contain more than 1 million tons of rare earth metals, LKAB states.
The work is still in an exploratory phase, the miner noted, and the full extent of the deposit is not known.
“It will take at least 10 to 15 years before we can actually start mining and delivering raw materials to the market,” CEO Jan Mostrom said in the statementciting a timeline derived from other permitting processes in the industry.
LKAB is planning an application for an exploration concession this year, before a permit is sought.
Mostrom called on the European Commission to speed up and streamline these processes as part of its The Act on Critical Raw Materialswhich is expected to be announced in March this year.
Sweden plays a key role in the EU’s ambitions for renewable energy and already supplies around 90% of the continent’s iron ore. Most of the steel manufacturing products are mined in LKAB’s operations.
The EU considers rare earths to be among the most critical resources for the region.
“Electrification, the EU’s self-sufficiency and independence from Russia and China will begin in the mine,” says Sweden’s energy and industry minister in the statement.
Sweden, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has invited the bloc’s representatives to a two-day summit in Kiruna. The city made headlines the end of the 2010s as it was moved in its entirety to accommodate the growth of the same business, which is the largest underground iron ore mine.