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Sweden Discovers The Largest Rare Earth Deposit

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Countries have been interested in the deposits of the earth for a long time. Fortunately, Sweden discovers the largest rare earth deposit. This biggest discovery leads to the thought-provoking question: Is Sweden cutting its dependence on China?

Mineral resources (including metallic, non-metallic, and combustible elements) are essential raw materials for industrial development today, and the need for these raw materials is on the rise. In the north of Sweden, the mining company Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag (LKAB) says it has found the biggest deposit of rare earth oxides in Europe.

LKAB is a Swedish government mining firm. They have iron ore mines in Kiruna and Malmberget in northern Sweden. The firm first opened its doors in 1890, and since the 1950s, it has been fully owned by the government.

Is Sweden's Discovery A Setback For China?

Why Sweden’s Discovery Of Europe’s Biggest Deposit Of Rare Earth Metals Could Be A Setback To China

COPYRIGHT_SZ: Published on https://stationzilla.com/sweden-discovers-the-largest-rare-earth-deposit/ by Dr. Cooney Blades on 2023-01-17T02:25:28.253Z

This discovery might lessen the continent's dependence on China in terms of an essential resource. The production of electric vehicles and consumer devices relies heavily on rare earth minerals. However, China is the market leader today, having produced 60% of the world's supply, as reported by the US Geological Survey.

More than one million metric tons of rare earth oxides have been discovered by LKAB in the Kiruna region, located in the extreme north of the country, the firm announced in a statement on Thursday.

The president and group CEO of LKAB, Jan Moström, said in a statement:

We face a supply problem. Without mines, there can be no electric vehicles ... This is good news, not only for LKAB, the region and the Swedish people, but also for Europe and the climate

The CEO also added:

This is the largest known deposit of rare earth elements in our part of the world, and it could become a significant building block for producing the critical raw materials that are absolutely crucial to enable the green transition.

As of now, Europe must rely on foreign imports for its supply of rare earth elements because no such elements are being mined anywhere on the continent. The European Commission estimates that China supplies the European Union with 98% of its mineral needs. Even though electrification is expected to increase demand, LKAB says that this "undersupply" will happen when geopolitical tensions are rising.

The company also said that the fact that the area depends on China for rare earth minerals makes European industry more vulnerable. In the same statement, Ebba Busch, Sweden's minister for energy, business, and industry, said:

Electrification, the European Union’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. 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.

Meet The Famous Mines In The World

An open pit mine with three haul trucks in a row
An open pit mine with three haul trucks in a row

A mineral deposit is an area of the Earth's crust that contains an unusually high concentration of one or more minerals due to geological processes. Mining should be used to get this rich and profitable mineral from the earth's crust. The world's largest mine is discussed in detail below.

Goldstrike Mine

Nevada, USA's Goldstrike Mine is the world's tenth-largest mine. The mine has produced over 44 million ounces of gold and over 80,000 ounces of silver since it opened in 1986. Goldstrike Mine stretches for a total of 12,000 feet and is anywhere from 600 to 200 feet deep.

Carajás Mine

This mine, which is located in the Brazilian state of Pará, produces more iron than any other facility on the planet. 7.2 billion metric tons of iron, along with some gold, copper, and nickel, have been extracted from the mine. The open pit mine has been operating since 1995, and it has only recently begun using autonomous trucks.

Oyu Tolgoi

The Oyu Tolgoi mine, located in Mongolia, was discovered in 2001. It is an underground and open pit mine specializing in copper production. The mine is responsible for generating approximately 450,000 tons of copper every year, as well as 1.7 million ounces of gold. The Oyu Tolgoi is up to 466 meters deep in some places.

Bingham Canyon Mine

The mine at Bingham Canyon is the largest in the world. Located in Utah, USA, this open pit mine is notable for the copper it produces. In total, the mine's 2,000 acres are expected to contain 19 million tons of copper. The Bingham Canyon Mine is located at a depth of 1200 meters and employs 2500 people. Bingham Canyon Mine is responsible for producing 25% of the United States' copper.

Final Words

The mining company LKAB, run by the Swedish government, announced it had discovered over a million tons of rare earth oxides. Northern Sweden is home to the largest rare earth deposit in all of Europe, discovered in the Kiruna region. Electric vehicles, wind turbines, mobile gadgets, microphones, and speakers all rely on rare earth materials.

Meanwhile, the LKAB stated that the route to mining the minerals is still long. The firm intends to file a permit application later this year. Because of their importance in the technology industry, rare earth deposits have also become one of the key battlegrounds in the US-China rivalry.

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About The Authors

Dr. Cooney Blades

Dr. Cooney Blades

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