Mongolia to supply critical metals to France, Macron says
PARIS, May 21 (Reuters) - Mongolia will supply critical metals to France needed for its energy transition, President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday during the first ever visit to Ulaanbaatar by a serving French president.
"We decided to work together to boost our energy sovereignty through the supply of critical metals from your country, which has this resource," he told a news conference with the Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, who called France its "third neighbour".
A partnership with nuclear group Orano, which is working on developing a uranium mine in Mongolia, would be key, Macron added. Macron stopped in Mongolia on his way back from the G-7 in Japan.
Nearly 80% of Mongolia's total exports go to China, but the mineral-rich country is working to expand trade and mining relationships beyond its two big neighbours China and Russia and hopes to become a bridge between Europe and Asia.
Rare earth minerals are essential to many high-tech manufacturing processes and are used in electric vehicles, wind turbines, portable electronics, microphones and speakers.
(Reporting by Michel Rose)