Two rare earth minerals have been found in Finland for the first time in what could be a boost to Europe’s supply of critical minerals necessary for the energy transition.
Finnish Minerals Group said on Monday that Sokli and the Geological Survey of Finland had identified two new minerals, kukharenkoite and cordylite, through mineralogical characterization—the first such deposits identified in the country.
The recently completed mineralogical analysis was aimed at charting the occurrence of rare earth elements (REE) in minerals.
Sokli is the world’s largest carbonatite deposit, the company said.
“According to the results of our scoping study, Sokli could produce at least 10% of the amount of REE needed annually in Europe to make permanent magnets,” it added.
Drilling is now currently taking place in areas where the new minerals are known to occur, Finnish Minerals Group said.
“These findings are another step towards achieving our goal of exploiting this unique mineral deposit in safeguarding the raw materials self-sufficiency of Europe,” Project Director Pasi Heino said.
“The Western world’s business opportunities associated with REE are growing, and the production of magnets is among the key ways of advancing the use of renewable energy and the electrification of transport.”
Europe and the U.S. are looking to reduce their dependence on China for minerals critical to the clean energy acceleration.
China has an outsized role in the global supply chain of clean energy technology, which brings another set of energy security concerns due to the highly geographically concentrated supply chains for both technology and critical minerals, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says.
Early this year Swedish mining company LKAB announced that it had identified significant deposits of rare earth elements in the Kiruna area in Sweden, Finland’s neighbor, in what is the largest known deposit of its kind in Europe.
The Nordic countries, particularly Greenland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, are rich in a variety of rare earth elements—and this could be a crucial source of supply for the Western nations.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com