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Swimming robots help Europe rediscover its mining mojo

April 10, 2019 / James Dacey

It is fair to say that European nations have been at the forefront of developing renewables, such as wind turbines and solar panels. Although the bulk structures of these technologies are made using common materials such as steel and silicon, they also have components containing rare-earth elements such as neodymium, praseodymium and indium.
The concerning thing for Europe is that the majority of these scarcer materials are imported, especially from China, leaving the continent vulnerable to shortages and dramatic price hikes. At the same time European industry is also heavily reliant on the rest of the world for other important metals and minerals. In short: Europe needs to rediscover its mining mojo.