The Alum Shale Investigation (N 2020: 02) was recently presented at the request of the Swedish Parliament. The reception has been cautiously positive from relevant industry representatives. Among other things, suitability requirements are proposed for those who apply for a processing concession for alum shale.
"The environmental risks that can potentially arise are not unique to alum shale, but the complex and varied composition makes it difficult to assess the environmental risks", says Lena Alakangas, professor of Applied geochemistry at Luleå University of Technology, who has participated as an expert in the investigation.
Metals will be needed for the transition to battery-powered vehicles and other green technology. Sweden's bedrock can contribute with critical metals required by the EU; for example vanadium and rare earth metals, important for future energy storage in batteries.
"An important part of the investigation has been to identify knowledge gaps. Therefore, various knowledge-improving measures regarding extraction of alum shale, including research related to environmental risks, are proposed," says Lena Alakangas.