This Country May Soon Become a Global EV Battery Leader

A discovery could lead to more mining in the future

EV batteries
Battery modules for Renault Twingo Electric automobiles on the production line at the Renault Revoz d.d. plant, a unit of Renault SA, in Novo Mesto, Slovenia.
Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg via Getty Images

We’re currently living through a moment in which electric vehicles are becoming more and more widespread. That’s due in part to automakers electrifying more and more of their cars and trucks — and in part due to various governments mandating a changeover around the world. But demand for more electric cars implies something else — a growing demand for the essential components within them, with batteries topping that list.

Building batteries is a manufacturing process all its own, though — and one that involves components sourced from all over. As it turns out, a recent discovery in the Arctic Circle might just provide a significant boost for the manufacturing of the aforementioned batteries. As reported by The New York Times, the Swedish state-owned mining company LKAB just announced the discovery of Europe’s largest trove of rare earth metals.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that this isn’t going to cause an immediate surge in battery production — as the article points out, it’s one thing to find a deposit of metals like this; extracting them — and making sure that there isn’t a significant blow to the environment — is another.

The deposit of metals is situated near the town of Kiruna, which is considered to be the country’s northernmost town. Historically, rare earth metals haven’t been found in Europe — so this could be a big step forward for the continent, even if actual mining operations there could still be a decade away.

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