Lithium-hungry France strikes Mongolian exploration deal (Reuters – October 12, 2023)

PARIS, Oct 12 (Reuters) – France signed a deal with Mongolia to search for lithium on Thursday and moved a step closer to mine uranium in the Asian country, as Paris steps up its hunt for critical metals needed for its clean energy shift.

The deals are one of the highlights of Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh’s visit to Paris, which comes less than six months after President Emmanuel Macron stopped off in Ulaanbaatar on his way back from a G7 summit in Japan.

French officials said the exploration deal was in a preliminary phase, with France investing 400,000 euros ($422,120) to explore a potentially lithium-rich basin in Mongolia via its BRGM geological service.

Rare earth minerals are essential to many high-tech manufacturing processes, particularly electric vehicles. France has encouraged its carmakers to build a hub for batteries and electric cars in Dunkirk in the north.

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