Norway’s landmark discovery of rare earths

The discovery could represent a significant turning point for the European rare earths industry, reducing dependence on China and promoting more sustainable and autonomous production

Norway has recently announced the discovery of what could be the largest rare earth deposit in Europe, located in the Fen Complex, about 62 miles from Oslo, in Telemark County.

Rare Earths Norway (REN), the company conducting the explorations, has estimated that the deposit contains a staggering 9.7 million tons of rare earth oxides. This discovery far surpasses the Kiruna deposit in Sweden, which is believed to contain between 1 and 2 million tons of these metals.

Rare earth elements are essential for numerous modern technologies, including electronic devices, wind turbines, and electric vehicles. Currently, Europe relies almost entirely on China for these materials, as China controls over 80% of global production. The Norwegian discovery could represent a significant step towards Europe’s independence in this crucial sector.

Aiming for an environmentally low-impact supply chain

REN’s estimates, conducted by a third party following stringent standards, indicate that the Fen deposit is particularly rich in neodymium and praseodymium oxides, highly sought after for producing supermagnets. These materials are crucial for energy transition technologies and the high-tech sector.

Despite the promising estimates, REN emphasizes that these evaluations are still preliminary. There is no certainty yet about the volumes that can be effectively extracted and processed. However, the company is optimistic and anticipates making a final investment decision by 2030, with a project that could require up to 10 billion Norwegian kroner (about $945 million).

REN’s goal is ambitious: to create a complete production chain, “from mine to magnet,” with a low environmental impact, capable of meeting 10% of Europe’s rare earth needs, in line with the objectives of the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA). Although Norway is not part of the EU, it has a privileged status due to its membership in the European Economic Area and its role as a reliable supplier of many raw materials.

The Potential of the Fen Deposit

REN CEO Alf Reistad stated that the resource estimate highlights the potential of the Fen deposit as a transformative asset, capable of supporting the development of a secure value chain for rare earths in Europe. The company is committed to using the world’s most sustainable extraction and mineral processing technologies, minimizing the environmental impact of the process.

Source: Rare Earths Norway

Condividi su Whatsapp Condividi su Linkedin