Mongolia has agreed to supply critical metals to France that it needs as part of its shift to a less carbon-intensive economy, Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday during the first ever visit to Ulaanbaatar by a serving French president.
The trip was aimed at boosting ties between the two countries — in particular in relation to the environment, agriculture and the food industry — as well as reducing Mongolia’s dependence on its Russian and Chinese neighbors, according to a statement from Macron’s office.
“We decided to work together to strengthen our energy sovereignty through the supply of critical metals from your country, which has this resource,” he told reporters as he stood alongside Mongolian President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa.
He added that an existing partnership with French nuclear group Orano SA would be key to enabling the extraction of critical metals.
The European Union is trying to secure access to resources that are crucial for its clean-energy and digital transition, such as lithium needed for electric-vehicle batteries. It also wants to reduce its dependence on a handful of suppliers that include China.
Macron added that the two countries would cooperate on renewable energies and nuclear, as well as working on bilateral and international financing to help with the decarbonization of Mongolia’s economy.
The visit is the second by a European head of state this year, following that of Polish President Andrzej Duda in April.