17 January 2023
by Sarah Morgan

Europe’s largest deposit of rare-earth metals found

LKAB has identified mineral resources exceeding 1Mt of rare-earth oxides in Kiruna, Sweden

Map of The Per Geijer deposit in relation to the current mine and the town of Kiruna © LKAB

The deposit in the Kiruna area, Sweden, is reported to be the largest known deposit of its kind in Europe. No rare-earth elements are currently mined in Europe, while demand is expected to increase dramatically because of electrification, which will lead to a global undersupply.

According to the European Commission’s assessment, the demand for rare-earth elements is expected to increase more than five-fold by 2030. Currently, Europe is dependent on imports of these minerals, with China dominating the market.

This find could be sufficient to meet a large part of the EU’s future demand for manufacturing permanent magnets that are needed for electric motors.

The road to mining the deposit is long, they plan to apply for an exploitation concession in 2023.

LKAB has already started to prepare a drift, several kilometres long, at a depth of approximately 700m in the existing Kiruna mine towards the new deposit to be able to investigate it. 

'It will be at least 10-15 years before we can actually begin mining and deliver raw materials to the market,' says Jan Moström, President and Group CEO, LKAB.

Promising results from LKAB’s ongoing exploration in Kiruna and Gällivare were presented last spring. The deposit Per Geijer is near existing operations in Kiruna.

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