Kiruna, Sweden — Iron ore miner LKAB said Thursday it has discovered “significant deposits” of rare earth elements in Arctic Sweden, which are needed to make electric cars and wind turbines. Sweden’s state-owned mining company, which mines iron ore in Kiruna, nearly 600 miles north of Stockholm, said it has more than 1 million tons of rare earth oxides.
“This is the largest known deposit of rare earth elements in our part of the world, and it has the potential to be a significant building block for the production of critical raw materials that are absolutely essential to the green transition,” said LKAB CEO Jan Mastrom. “Without mines, there can be no electric cars.”
Sweden’s Minister of Energy and Business, Ebba Busch, said that “the EU’s electrification, self-sufficiency and independence from Russia and China will start in the mine.”
“We need to strengthen industrial value chains in Europe and create real opportunities to electrify our societies. Policy must enable industry to transition to environmentally safe, fossil-free production,” she added.
Rare earth elements have entered the lives of nearly every person on the planet, appearing in everything from hard drives and cell phones to elevators and trains. They are especially important for the fast-growing green energy industry, which is powered by wind turbines and electric car engines.
Exploration won’t start for years, even if permits are issued very quickly.
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