Sweden is exploring the option to dig for cobalt and lithium on its own territory in an attempt to revive its traditional mining areas. The government in Stockholm has reserved 10 million kronor (1m euros) for the project, with results expected by the first half of 2020.
A new report published by the Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU) finds that “there is great potential for prospecting for many innovation critical resources in Sweden, including graphite, lithium, Rare Earth Metals (REE), volfram etc”. Now the Swedish government has jumped on those findings and funds further research with 10 million kronor, reasoning that the growth in e-mobility and other industries will spike demand.
Particularly the country’s traditional mining area of Bergslagen, near Stockholm, as well as the northern regions of Västerbotten and Norrbotten will come under the lens of the geologists and researchers.
Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mikael Damberg told The Local in an interview, that “demand will grow explosively for a number of these minerals and metals going forward,” and he added that “Europe needs to have a think about whether it’s really that healthy to be that import-dependent on, for example, Congo where a lot of the exploration is done in some pretty dire conditions.” He refereed to both economical as well as ecological conditions.
Congo is already looking to increase taxes on cobalt and has also entered into an agreement to monitor the working conditions of miners in the Democratic Republic. The DRC could classify cobalt as ‘strategic material’ due to growing demand resulting from enhanced EV production and tax it at a higher rate of 5 instead of currently 2 percent.
Especially the run on cobalt has intensified with all carmakers and their home countries scrambling to secure their supply or else try to limit the use of it like Samsung wants to do reportedly.
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