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Europe’s Largest Deposit Of Rare Earth Metals

Europe’s Largest Deposit Of Rare Earth Metals:

Sweden’s state-owned mining company LKAB has discovered Europe’s largest deposit of rare earth metals.

  • The store, situated in Kiruna located in the northern region of Sweden, holds a stockpile of over 1 million metric tons of rare earth oxides.
  • Currently, no rare earths are mined in Europe and it mostly imports them from other regions.
  • According to a report in the BBC, 98% of rare earths used by the European Union (EU) were sent by China.
  • The discovery can also prove to be a significant turning point not just for the EU but also for other western countries as they have been trying to reduce their reliance on China for the import of these rare earth elements.

Rare Earth Elements:

  • They are a set of 17 metallic elements.
  • These include the 15 lanthanides on the periodic table in addition to scandium and yttrium that show similar physical and chemical properties to the lanthanides.
  • They are important in technologies of consumer electronics, computers and networks, communications, clean energy, advanced transportation, healthcare, environmental mitigation, and national defence, among others.
  • Scandium is used in televisions and fluorescent lamps
  • Yttrium is used in drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.