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Silverfallet - Längs bäcken finns lämningar av Karlsfors alunbruk och kalkbruk. Creative Commons.
Silverfallet - Remains of Karlsfors alum and lime mill. Image Source: Creative Commons. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Critical but important metals are found in Swedish alum shale

Published: 13 January 2021

Metals of various kinds will be needed for a long time to come, not least to cope with the transition to battery-powered vehicles and other green technology. Sweden's bedrock can contribute to the extraction of critical metals that the EU demands; for example vanadium and rare earth metals, important for future energy storage in batteries.

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.

Vanadium is a rare, soft, metallic element.
Vanadium is a rare, soft, metallic element. Image source: Creative Commons

"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.

Lena Alakangas

Lena Alakangas, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 491396
Organisation: Applied Geochemistry, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering