Show that Sweden sleeps on unexpected earthly wealth, As large stocks of rare and precious minerals were discovered on its lands, minerals that could soon become “more valuable than oil and gas,” according to experts.
The Swedish state-owned mining company (LKAB) said it had found what it believed to be “the largest known deposit of rare earth elements in Europe”.
The company, located in the northernmost city of Kiruna, Sweden, said that the store contains more than one million metric tons of rare earth oxides.
These minerals are used in the manufacture of electric cars and wind turbines, as well as magnets, glass screens, speakers and many other electronic devices.
A report published by the American network “CNBC” and viewed by “Al Arabiya.net” stated that this discovery could pave the way for the start of mining rare earth elements in Europe, as the region currently depends entirely on imports from a market dominated by China.
The European Union imports 99% of these rare earth elements from abroad, according to the 2020 report.
In her 2022 State of the Union address, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that rare earth elements, along with lithium which is also used in the manufacture of batteries, “will soon be more important than oil and gas”.
The European Union expects a fivefold increase in demand for these metals by 2030.
Swedish LKAB CEO Jan Mostrom described the discovery as “good news, not only for the company, the region and the Swedish people, but also for Europe and the climate.”
However, the company said the road to mining will be “long”, an exploration license still needs to be submitted, and several more years of exploration are needed to discover the full extent of the deposit.
“If we look at how other permitting processes work within our industry, it will take at least 10 to 15 years before we actually start mining and delivering the raw materials to the market,” Mostrom said.