Illustration by Nate Kitch This January, at a press conference 1,700 feet underground in Sweden’s Lapland region, one of Europe’s most pressing policy goals seemed to finally be within reach. State-owned miner LKAB was announcing a major discovery in its Kiruna mine: one of the largest deposits of rare earth elements in Europe. Illustration by Nate Kitch More in this series: The Japan Model “This is really an important day for Sweden and for the whole of the European Union,” said Ebba Busch, Sweden’s minister for energy, business and industry, while donning a blue hard hat. “It is a significant happening which can play a key role in securing a green transition within the EU.” Along with other critical minerals, such as lithium and cobalt, the 17 rare earth elements (REEs) are essential for the green and digital transSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.