Norwegian deposit could cover up to 30 percent of Europe’s rare earth demand.
Rare Earths Norway and Austria’s Montanuniversität Leoben are partnering to develop a mining concept for Norway’s Fen rare earth deposit. According to estimates, the reserve in the southeastern region of Telemark could supply 20 to 30 percent of Europe’s demand for rare earths by 2030. Geological studies (PDF) speak of possibly the largest deposit of the critical raw material in continental Europe. It contains considerable quantities of neodymium and praseodymium, which are in demand primarily as permanent magnets for electric motors and wind turbines.
In developing the mine, Rare Earths Norway and Montanuniversität Leoben say they are placing great emphasis on sustainability, the highest safety standards and the lowest possible surface impact. Rare Earths Norway was founded in 2016 specifically to develop the Fen deposit and is supported by the European Raw Materials Alliance ERMA, among others.
Increasingly, Northern Europe’s importance to a future European rare earths value chain is crystallizing. In recent weeks, the announcement of a huge deposit near the northern Swedish town of Kiruna has made headlines around the world. Promising reserves also exist in Norway and Finland. However, as we reported, experience shows that it takes years or even decades before a deposit becomes a mine, as commissioning involves lengthy exploration and planning and approval procedures.