Swedish mining company LKAB has discovered significant deposits of rare earth elements in the Kiruna area, metals used in the production of electric cars and wind turbines, as well as magnets, glass screens, speakers, and a variety of other electronics. Following successful exploration, the company now reports rare earth metal mineral resources exceeding one million tonnes of rare earth oxides, as well as the largest known deposit of its kind in Europe.
According to the company, the store contained more than one million metric tons of rare earth oxides. China currently has more than 80% of the world’s rare earth processing capacity, and the EU projects that by 2030, demand for the metals used in wind turbines and electric car motors will have multiplied five-fold.
Jan Moström, LKAB’s chief executive, called the discovery “good news, not only for LKAB, the region and the Swedish people, but also for Europe and the climate.”
“There, instead of landfilling the material, it can be used to create new, sustainable products. A production start is planned for 2027,” says Leif Boström, Senior Vice President, Business Area Special Products, LKAB.
The discovery could have a significant impact on the European Union’s clean energy transition, increasing the EU’s hopes of becoming less reliant on China. There are currently no rare earth elements mined in Europe; however, demand is expected to increase dramatically as a result of electrification, resulting in a global undersupply at a time of rising geopolitical tensions.