Sweden’s state-owned mining company LKAB has discovered what it argues to be Europe’s largest known deposit of rare earths, which are the backbone minerals of many technologies related to the energy transition, the company said in a statement on January 12. 

LKAB estimates that the deposit, located in the Kiruna area in north Sweden, contains more than 1m tonnes of rare earth oxides, enough to help European countries reduce their reliance on China. According to figures from the International Energy Agency, China dominates more than 71% of the global extraction and 87% of the global processing capacity of rare earths. 


But LKAB CEO Jan Moström stressed in the company’s statement that LKAB needs to tackle time-consuming regulatory challenges, which could otherwise set the project back by 10–15 years.

Across the Baltic Sea, in Estonia, Canadian Neo Performance Materials is developing major rare earths processing facilities to loosen China’s dominance in rare earths processing. Efforts are also underway in the US to set up local rare earths extraction and processing operations. 

K-drama proves investment-worthy

Kakao Entertainment has secured almost $1bn in financing from Saudi and Singaporean funds, which are betting on the continuing popularity of Korean drama (K-drama) after the successes of series such as ‘Squid Games’.

A filing from Kakao on 12 January shows the company raised Won1.2tn ($970.3m) by issuing 2.26 million shares to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Singapore’s Pwarp Investment, an investment vehicle of Singapore’s Government Investment Corporation.

Kakao produces shows for Netflix, which has capitalised on a growing demand for local content since the ‘streaming wars’ began.


Interest in funding the Korean entertainment sector is already well-established: the Saudi PIF invested in game developers NCSoft and Nexon in 2022. 

Saudis mining fund to dilute oil dependence

Saudi Arabia’s PIF has joined forces with the country’s state-owned miner Ma’aden to set up a joint venture “to invest in mining assets globally to secure strategic minerals that are essential for Saudi Arabia’s industrial development as well as the resilience of global supply chains”,  the company said in a statement on January 11. 

The joint venture will have an initial capital of $50m, the statement notes. The Financial Times reports the fund is prepared to invest as much as $15bn in overseas assets as “suitable opportunities” emerge.

The new fund will “contribute to strengthening Saudi Arabia’s strategic position as an important link in the global supply chain”, said deputy governor and head of Middle East and North Africa Investments at PIF Yazeed Alhumied. The initiative is part of the country’s efforts to diversify its economy