Sweden discovers uncommon earth metals — and that might redefine Europe’s relationship with China

Swedish firm LKAB has found what’s claimed to be Europe’s largest deposit of uncommon earth metals, promising a important increase within the continent’s commerce safety and inexperienced transition.

“Uncommon earths” are a bunch of 17 chemical elements composed of scandium, yttrium, and lanthanides. Opposite to their title, uncommon earths are literally considerable; their rarity stems from the complexity of their extraction, separation, and refining, which may generate poisonous and radioactive waste, negatively impacting the environment.

However regardless of their environmental hazards, they’re essential for the manufacture of quite a few high-tech merchandise. This ranges from family items (TVs, computer systems, and smartphones) to medical gear (X-Ray and MRI scanning) and protection methods (jets and night time imaginative and prescient tech, amongst others).

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Most notably, they’re additionally key for the clear vitality transition, as they’re elements of the magnets utilized in EVs and wind generators.

With no mining of its personal, the EU imports 98% of its uncommon earth metals provide from China, which homes the majority of the world’s reserve and is the largest world provider.

LKAB’s discovery, nevertheless, may very well be a sport changer. The state-owned firm said that it has discovered a deposit — named Per Geijer — of over a million tons within the Kiruna space, positioned in Lapland throughout the Arctic Circle.

Sweden's LKAB finds the biggest rare earth metals deposit in Europe