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Norway discovers Europe's largest deposit of rare earth metals

Mining firm Rare Earths Norway says it has discovered Europe's largest proven deposit of highly prized rare earth elements, potentially reflecting a watershed moment for both the Nordic country and the broader region.

One of the few deposits not owned or controlled by China, the discovery of continental Europe's largest rare earths deposit is considered a welcome boost in Europe's bid to break China's rare earths dominance.

Demand for rare earths and critical minerals is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years as the clean energy transition picks up pace.

Rare Earths Norway said in a June 6 statement that its Fen Carbonatite Complex in the southeast of the country boasts 8.8 million metric tons of total rare earth oxides (TREOs) with a reasonable prospect for economic extraction.

Within the TREOs, which are considered vital to the global shift away from fossil fuels, the company says there is an estimated 1.5 million metric tons of magnet-related rare earths which can be used in electric vehicles and wind turbines.

The discovery eclipses a massive rare earths deposit found last year in neighboring Sweden.

Alf Reistad, CEO of Rare Earths Norway, told CNBC that the discovery at Fen represents a "great milestone" for the company.

"It is important to state that there is absolutely no extraction of rare earth elements in Europe today," Reistad said via videoconference Monday.

One of the aims of the Critical Raw Materials Act is to extract at least 10% of the European Union's annual demand for rare earths by 2030 and Rare Earths Norway says it hopes to contribute to that goal.

Rare Earths Norway said the rare earths deposit in Telemark, roughly 210 kilometers (130 miles) southwest of Oslo, is likely to underscore Norway's