Could end the Chinese monopoly… Sweden discovered millions of tons of rare earth metals
A Swedish mining group has announced the discovery of Europe’s largest known field of rare earth metals, in far north Sweden, and may contain more than 1 million tons of the mineral.
The importance of this discovery comes at a time when Europe is worried about its dependence on China, the largest producer in the world, to obtain these minerals, which are used, in particular, to manufacture electric car batteries and wind turbines.
“This is the largest known field of rare-earth metals in our part of the world, and it could become a key component for the production of raw materials so critical to the clean energy transition,” Group Chief Executive Jan Mostrom said in a statement.
Mostrom explained, “We’re facing a supply problem, and without mines, there are no electric cars”.
The Swedish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Energy, Ebba Busch, confirmed that the self-sufficiency of the European Union and its independence from Russia and China will begin in the mine.
Busch said the earth elements discovered could help the European Union become more independent of rare earths from China, and to promote the green transition.
It’s worth noting that rare earths, and other raw materials whose details haven’t yet been announced, are the kind that China controls in the field of industries, especially the important chips of the electric car sector.
For his part, Jan Mostrom stressed that “the announced discoveries are large enough to end Europe’s dependence on one country,” adding, “We’ve seen dependence on Russian gas and its results, which applies to dependence on China in the field of rare earths”.
The Swedish minister stated that Europe “depends on China’s production and purification of rare elements by 90%, and 60% of lithium also comes from China,” noting that this is “unsustainable, and the European Union must increase its independence in raw materials in necessary industries”.
The extraction of rare earths usually takes several years before they are used in industrial production.
According to Mostrom, “this may not require those years… It’s usually the case with mining licenses”.
The Kiruna region to the north, in which rare materials were discovered, is located within its scope the largest iron ore mines in Sweden.
But the concerned authorities hope to go further than that.
Officials and ministers of the center-right government are enthusiastic about expanding work in the wilderness area within the northern Arctic Circle, which has not yet been touched by industries and exploration due to the presence of one of the ethnic minorities, the Sumi people, and as reserves that are forbidden to Europeans to approach it.
The Arctic Circle region has, in recent years, become a focus of intense competition between the West and Russia, with China trying to enter the line, through the Arctic Council, due to experts in the field of energy and raw materials suggesting the presence of huge quantities of rare materials, especially those that It is involved in the manufacture of chips and batteries, as well as Russia’s bet on expanding its investments in the field of fossil energy extraction, after climate change has scraped huge ice patches.