Exploration

Valuable rare earth elements discovery

The development of tomorrow’s technical solutions relies on rare earth elements. At present, the rare earth minerals used in technological development come from China, but Sweden hopes to be able to help top-up this supply in the near future.

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Access to heavy, rare earth elements (REE) is critical for global high-tech and green-tech industries. Their unique properties make them an indispensable ingredient of everything from cell phones and gamma knives to wind power installations and hybrid vehicles – everything we make for our modern world.

Over 95% of the world’s REE requirements are currently met by China, where the metals are produced under questionable environmental and social circumstances. Exploration projects have taken place all over the world in order to secure future supplies. One of the most important of these projects is the Norra Kärr REE deposit near Gränna in Sweden. Norra Kärr is a unique deposit that is thought to be the only one of any significance in the whole of Europe, and SGU (the Geological Survey of Sweden) has consequently declared it to be a mineral deposit of national interest. The levels of uranium and thorium are, furthermore, less than 10-15 ppm, helping to ensure low impact and environmentally safe processing.

There are a number of reasons why it is so important that a European mine is able to compete with Chinese ones in future, including securing supplies and ensuring environmentally safe extraction and processing. Both of which are absolutely vital, according to Mark Saxon, President & CEO of Tasman Metals AB. The Company has been exploring in Norra Kärr since 2009 and has much of the information it needs to open a mine with an anticipated operational life of at least 40 years.

“We have a mission – to make mining a part of the future, not just the past.

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“We have a mission – to make mining a part of the future, not just the past. In Norra Kärr, we have one of the best discoveries in the world, where people consume a lot of REEs. We have the opportunity to contribute to technical innovations and sustainability, so we are hopeful that investment to further advance the project comes Tasman’s way,” says Mark Saxon, President & CEO Tasman Metals AB.