Could the world break its dependence on Chinese rare earth metals with a newly found deposit in remote Sweden? Kim Mackrael reports in The Wall Street Journal:
The discovery here of a large deposit of rare-earth elements, vital for renewable energy and electric vehicles, offers fresh hopes for Europe’s transition away from fossil fuels and a lessened reliance on China, the world’s top supplier of the critical minerals.
Announcing potentially the largest known find in Europe, Swedish state-owned mining company LKAB said Thursday that some of the rare-earth elements in the deposit could be used to produce permanent magnets, which are components in motors for electric vehicles and wind turbines. The company said the rare-earth elements could be produced as a byproduct of mining iron ore.
The deposit “could become a significant building block for producing the critical raw materials that are absolutely crucial to enable the green transition,” LKAB Chief Executive Jan Moström said.
The finding comes as the European Union seeks to reduce its dependence on China for the rare-earth elements needed to produce electronics, batteries and other products. The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, plans to propose legislation on critical raw materials early this year, which aims to boost the EU’s provisions of the vital industrial supplies.
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