To alleviate the dependency of rare earth elements (REE) import from China the Kiruna iron ore mine tailings are being considered as a new REE resource. These tailings, after beneficiation, contain approximately 5000 ppm of rare earths, concentrated in apatite and monazite minerals. To economically extract the REE from these tailings the phosphorous contained within the apatite must also be extracted and the waste production of the process should be minimal. To achieve the extraction of REE and phosphorous a leaching process with HNO3 is proposed. This produces H3PO4 from the apatite while simultaneously dissolving the REE. The resulting leach liquor is then cooled to remove the unwanted Ca as Ca(NO3)2. ICP-ms analysis of the leach liquor reveals extraction ratios of between 75% and 100% for the heavy REE (Y, Eu, Dy, …) and below 40% from the light REE (Ce, La). Full phosphorous extraction was also achieved.