[Answered] Despite new finds in Sweden, China will remain the go-to supplier for the foreseeable future for rare earth materials. Comment.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.

Body: Explain why China will remain the go-to supplier for the foreseeable future, despite new finds in Sweden.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Recently Sweden has discovered more than one million tonnes of rare earth oxides in the northern area of the country. This is the largest known deposit in Europe. Currently, no rare earths are mined in Europe and 98 percent of rare earths used by the European Union were sent by China. These elements are important in technologies of consumer electronics, computers and networks, clean energy, advanced transportation among others.

Due to following reasons China will remain the go-to supplier for the foreseeable future:

  • According to data from the US Geological Survey, China accounted for more than 60 per cent of all rare earths production.
  • Experts suggest that it can take years to start operations at the Kiruna mine in Sweden, where the deposits have been found.
  • In Europe, there are heavy regulatory barriers to the mining and production of critical raw materials and it does not currently mine raw earths.
  • Sweden still needs a lot of drilling, testing, and they don’t have the full information about what quality the ore grade is.
  • It would take between 10 and 15 years to develop a mine, which is in line with the company’s own estimates.
  • Once they have the mining, they also need to establish the processing industry as isolating and refining rare earths are complex and hugely energy intensive processes.

Rare earths are used in small quantities but have qualities that make them essential. The multifarious uses of rare earth elements in new age technologies show that their demand is going to rise in future.

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