LKAB welcomes and criticizes EU regulation

Kiruna Swedish state-owned mining company LKAB welcomes the European Commission's proposed legislation on critical raw materials, the Critical Raw Materials Regulation. But the company thinks the target is set too low

"While the proposal provides encouraging signs that Europe is serious about reaching its climate goals by 2030 and beyond, it also shows that Europe still faces many challenges on the road ahead”, LKAB writes in a press release.

To increase the EU's resilience for raw materials, the European Commission proposes that at least 10 percent of the EU's annual consumption of strategic raw materials should be extracted within Europe by 2030. It is not enough according to LKAB.

"A 10% target is far from being ambitious enough if we want to achieve resilience and secure value chains. This is even more important since further extraction of metals and minerals is going to be crucial in the years to come, as supply is recognized to become a major bottleneck for the green transition. But in the current regulatory environment where it's very difficult to open a new mine and processing infrastructure, Europe won't even reach the set target. Green tech starts in the mine," says Niklas Johansson, Senior Vice President Communication and Climate at LKAB.

LKAB has previously criticized the regulations and slow permit processes that make it difficult to open new mines in Sweden.

Earlier this year, LKAB presented the news that the company has identified the largest known deposit of rare earth elements (REEs) in Europe, and recently started the public consultation process to apply for a processing concession later this year. Under current regulations, LKAB has stated it would take at least 10 to 15 years before mining could begin, if at all. The deposit is located in Kiruna, right next to where LKAB has been mining for over 100 years.

Lennart Håkansson