On Thursday, 12 January 2023, an extraordinary find of over one million tonnes of rare-earth metals by the Swedish state-owned mining company LKAB appeared as top news on numerous media channels. Especially in view of the climate crisis, the demand for rare-earth metals will steadily increase in the coming years. Smartphones, e-cars, wind turbines and other high-tech products include a number of elements that are important raw materials for the production of permanent magnets based on iron-neodymium-boron alloys. The world's largest known reserves of economically viable deposits of rare earth metals are located primarily in China, Russia and Brazil (Rare Earths Statistics and Information report).
What is the significance of the discovery of one million tonnes of rare-earth metals for Europe? This question also came to the DGM when a call from WDR arrived at the office late on Thursday afternoon. Thanks to Prof. Dr. Dagmar Goll and Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schneider, both from Aalen University, the DGM was able to provide expert answers to these and other questions.