Sweden’s state mining company has announced the discovery of the largest deposit of rare earth metals ever found in Europe, raising hopes that the continent could reduce its dependence on China.
Mining company LKAB announced on Thursday that it had found at least a million tonnes of rare earth oxides in the Kiruna region in the far north of the country.
Couple of people have sent this to me. For which thanks. Looks like it’s apatite. Associated with iron ore, fluorite and so on, sounds about right. Also, v similar – I think – to what the Chinese mine at that vast place at Baotou.
That’s already making assumptions. I’d go further in assuming that it will be high in the light REs, light in the heavies. So, lots of La and Ce, things already in oversupply, light in the Tb and Dy everyone really wants. Nd/Pr could be in any sort of range.
The big test here will be what is that Nd/Pr content though. Assume that they mine, get a RE concentrate. Great. If that’s less than – about, aroundanda – 10% Nd/Pr then the entire deposit is valueless. Simply because of the costs and revenues of the processing. More than 20% and at current prices and processes then it’s great.
Note that I’m making gargantuan assumptions from a quick reading of a not very informative press release. That price and concentration point is more generally true tho’, applies to any deposit these days.