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Norra Kärr: A key player in Europe’s pursuit of rare earth metals self-sufficiency

New technologies and expanding electrification mean a growing demand for common and unusual metals such as rare earth metals. Norra Kärr, one of the largest deposits in Europe, located outside Gränna, has unusual rocks rich in rare earth metals.

“Norra Kaärr can help the EU become self-sufficient in rare earth metals,” said Axel Sjöqvist, author of the new doctoral thesis at the University of Gothenburg.

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A successful transition to green energy and new production of wind turbines and electric vehicles require reliable sources of rare earth metals. Rare earth metals are used in devices such as displays, catalytic converters, batteries and powerful permanent magnets.

According to Axel Sjöqvist, “it is important to understand the geological origin and development of these rock types and to determine the distribution of rare earth metals among different types of rocks and minerals. Understanding this enables us to make effective use of resources and promote future exploration in Sweden and around the world. ”

The research in Sjöqvist’s doctoral thesis provides new insights into the geological origin of Norra Kärr.

“many of the metals and minerals that are vital to innovation lack reliable sources. In order to meet the promise of a green transformation, there must be an adequate supply of metal for wind turbines and electric vehicles. Wind turbines can generate more electricity to indicate that electric cars can drive longer distances, while rare earths are an important part of motors and generators. ”

EU imports from China

Mining and mineral mining also pose challenges to the environment. Mining plans other than Gränna have sparked environmental protests.

“Resource exploitation always affects the environment in some way. When we import metal, this effect will not go away. On the contrary, from the perspective of the global environment, it will increase. Unfortunately, resources buried in bedrock cannot be moved. It is up to the Land and Environmental Court to decide whether the company’s new mining plan at Norra Kärr can be carried out in an environmentally sound manner. ”

Today, 98-99% of EU demand for rare earth metals comes from China.

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