The discovery of new rare earth minerals (REM) mines in northern Sweden was welcomed in euphoria by the European Union. The EU sees it as a way to reduce its dependency on China. However, heavy regulatory barriers currently prevent the exploitation of the mines in order to preserve the surrounding biodiversity. Hence, the discovery of those minerals represents the dilemma between environmental and politico-economic stakes in the context of growing global multipolarity.
Key Judgement 1: It is unlikely that the rare earth minerals found in Sweden will allow Europe to become independent from China’s minerals in the next five years.
Key Judgement 2: It is highly likely that the mining of those rare minerals will pose environmental and social risks in the upcoming five years.
Key Judgement 3: It is likely that the discourse promoting the mining of these rare minerals will focus on “green transition” rather than the dual use of such minerals in the following five years.