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  • 14 January, 2023

  • 6 Min Read

Largest Rare Earth Elements Deposit in Europe

Largest Rare Earth Elements Deposit in Europe

More than a million tonnes of rare earth oxides have recently been found in Northern Sweden by the state-owned mining corporation LKAB.

About the discovery:

  • Deposits of rare earth elements have been found near Kiruna, Sweden, in the Arctic.
  • Europe doesn't mine any rare earth elements (REE), and instead largely imports them from other places.
  • China supplied 98 percent of the rare earths that the European Union consumed.
  • This finding supports Europe's goal of reducing its reliance on imported raw resources for the green transition.
  • Since rare earths are not currently mined in Europe, it imports them primarily from other continents.
  • The discovery may also represent a turning point for the EU and other western nations that have been working to lessen their reliance on China as a source of imports for rare earth metals.

What is rare earth mineral ?

  • A group of 17 chemical elements in the periodic table are known as rare earth elements or rare earth metals.
  • The 15 lanthanides as well as scandium and yttrium, which frequently occur in lanthanide-bearing ore deposits and have related chemical features, are all elements with comparable chemical compositions.
  • Promethium, one of the rare earths, emits radiation.
  • The extraction of REE is the most difficult part, despite the fact that they are fairly dispersed throughout many geographies, due to sophisticated processing and significant environmental effects.


  • Drones, jet engine turbines, and space shuttle components all make use of rare earth elements.
  • The NASA Space Shuttle Program depends on cerium, the most plentiful rare earth element.
  • Renewable energy equipment too depend upon rare earth metals.
  • A effort to replace internal combustion engines with electric motors has increased demand for batteries and rare earth magnets comprised of neodymium, boron, and iron.
  • China's monopoly on rare earth has grown over time; at one point, China produced 90% of the rare earth the world required.
  • However, it is now just 60%, and the rest is produced by other nations, such as the Quad (Australia, India, Japan and United States).
  • Production facilities have emerged in Australia since China restricted the export of rare earth to the US, Europe, and Japan in 2010.
  • However, China holds the major share of the processed Rare Earths market.

A major concern for India:

  • India has over 6% of the world's reserves but only contributes 1% to global production.
  • India has access to several REEs, including lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, praseodymium, and samarium, among others. Others, like dysprosium, terbium, and europium, are not present in extractable amounts in Indian deposits.
  • India has a bold aim to switch a sizable portion of its transportation to electricity, which calls for the requirement of these minerals.
  • India will have to rely on imports from other nations, notably China if it cannot explore and develop these minerals.


  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) conducts mapping and exploration activities across the nation for a variety of mineral commodities, including Rare Earth Elements (REE) and Rare Metals (RM), in future more research and exploration have to be conducted by the GSI
  • For the purpose of REE exploration, India established Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL) and even negotiated partnerships with other countries, such as the Australia-India Critical Minerals Investment Partnership.

Source: The Indian Express

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