We are thrilled by the announcement of one of our member companies LKAB: Europe’s largest deposit of rare earth metals is located in the Kiruna area. “This is good news, not only for LKAB, the region and the Swedish people but also for Europe and the climate” highlighted Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB and President of Euromines.
“Important day for Sweden and for the whole European Union”, said today the Minister for Energy, Business and Industry, Ebba Busch at the press conference in Kiruna. She also added “The mine of the future is carbon dioxide-free it’s digital and it’s autonomous it is the starting point for building fossil-free value chains within Europe. The mining industry is supplying raw materials indispensable for the green transition.”
LKAB has identified significant deposits of rare earth elements in the Kiruna area, metals which are essential for, among other applications, the manufacture of electric vehicles and wind turbines. Following successful exploration, the company today reports mineral resources of rare earth metals exceeding one million tonnes of rare earth oxides and the largest known deposit of its kind in Europe.
No rare earth elements are currently mined in Europe, at the same time, demand is expected to increase dramatically as a result of electrification, which will lead to a global undersupply, and this at a time of increasing geopolitical tensions. According to the European Commission’s assessment, the demand for rare earth elements for electric cars and wind turbines, among others, is expected to increase more than fivefold by 2030. Today, Europe is also dependent on imports of these minerals, where China completely dominates the market, a factor which increases the vulnerability of European industry.
“Electrification, the EU’s self-sufficiency and independence from Russia and China will begin in the mine. We need to strengthen industrial value chains in Europe and create real opportunities for the electrification of our societies. Politics must give the industry the conditions to switch to green and fossil-free production. Here, the Swedish mining industry have a lot to offer. The need for minerals to carry out the transition is great”, says Ebba Busch.
“If we look at how other permit processes have worked within our industry, it will be at least 10-15 years before we can actually begin mining and deliver raw materials to the market. And then we are talking about Kiruna, where LKAB has been mining ore for more than 130 years. Here, the European Commission’s focus on this issue, to secure access to critical materials, and the Critical Raw Materials Act the Commission is now working on, is decisive. We must change the permit processes to ensure increased mining of this type of raw material in Europe. Access is today a crucial risk factor for both the competitiveness of European industry and the climate transition,” says Jan Moström.