The Norwegian company REEtec AS has developed an innovative and sustainable technology for separation of rare earth elements that can compete with China's dominating production of these materials. Now the first factory is to be built in Herøya in Norway. LKAB plans to extract rare earth elements as a by-product from our iron ore mining. Together with REEtec, LKAB will create the base for a strong and sustainable Nordic value chain for rare earth metalsDemand for rare earth metals for use in electric vehicles and wind turbines is expected to increase more than five-fold by 2030, a clear indicator that the green transition is well under way. But Europe is dependent on imports of these critical minerals, and China is the dominating producer. The EU has announced a strategy in order to boost Europe’s self-sufficiency in critical raw materials.Increased European self-sufficiency must address the entire value chain, from mining to processing and production of key components for which rare earth elements are required, for example, permanent magnets. Since Europe does not mine these materials and has only marginal processing capacity, LKAB and REEtec’s collaboration marks the start of something new in Europe. The plan is for REEtec’s first factory, in Herøya, Norway, to be ready by the second half of 2024, and for a second factory, planned for 2026, that can process material from LKAB that will be available as of 2027.The REEtec process combines high efficiency and competitive cost, with up to 90 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions. A key feature of the process is that virtually all inputs are recovered and recycled. The energy requirement is very low and electricity use is based entirely on hydropower sources from Norway’s green grid. REEtec’s technology enables production of high-grade products very effectively and with significantly lower environmental impact than conventional separation processes for rare earth elements.