On the edge of Sillamae, a town of just over 12,000 people in northeast Estonia, sits a grassy hill with a secret. It’s here, on the Baltic Sea coast close to the Russian border, where the past is buried. And it’s here, according to one company, where the future lies if Europe wants to loosen China’s grip on the supply of components to industries seen as critical to the continent’s economy.
The artificial mound covers a radioactive pond from when the town covertly processed uranium for the Soviet nuclear industry until 1989. Today, the adjacent facilities are home to oil and fertilizer storage terminals, but also the only major processing plant outside Asia for rare earth metals used in the automotive industry.
The plant’s Canadian owner, Neo Performance Materials, says the knowledge honed in the remote region over decades is now key to nurturing a European industry for magnets, particularly for electric vehicles.
Backed by the Estonian government, Neo plans to build Europe’s first rare earth magnets manufacturing site next door to Sillamae, which will provide the processed raw materials needed to make them.
For the rest of this article: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/how-a-soviet-nuclear-site-could-be-key-to-europe-s-ev-market-1.1877629#:~:text=At%20full%20capacity%2C%20it%20could,%E2%80%9D%20said%20Lynk%2C%20the%20analyst.