Rare earths are valuable. They play a part in the lives of almost everyone on the planet. If you know where to look, you can find rare earths in computer hard drives, elevators, and even trains. That’s because they are good conductors. (Wink!) They’re especially important for green energy machinery. Big wind turbines and electric car engines need them.
Finding these rare earth deposits helps the European Union (EU). The EU gets almost 98 percent of its rare earth minerals from China. Almost none of the minerals are mined in Europe. But that may change now!
The EU’s economy (the way people spend and make money) is growing. That means the people there need more energy and technology. Both of those needs mean more demand for rare earth minerals.
Internal market expert Thierry Breton says that the growth will only happen if supply chains for needed materials work well. China controls most of the known rare earths. That means that China also controls prices. And those prices keep going up. Having another source of rare earths in Europe will help stabilize the supply chain. It also gives Sweden a say in laws, plans, and international deals related to rare earths (the politics around the resources).
The rare earth deposit discovery could help a lot of people. There is still much to be done before the rare earths can be mined and put to use in new electric cars or the elevator in your apartment building. But who knows? Some could end up in the tech you use!