Varin report on critical minerals

Last updated: 9 December 2023

The French government commissioned Philippe Varin (previous president of France Industrie) to submit an independent report with three objectives regarding the supply security of critical minerals: 1) Assess the security level of critical mineral supplies with industry, 2) Identify the industry’s needs, 3) Propose a way to organise the work of private and public actors to enhance the resilience of critical mineral supply chains. 
The focus of the report was placed on battery metals (nickel, cobalt, lithium) and permanent magnets (rare earth elements), which are particularly necessary to electrify transport and manufacture clean technologies. The report was finalised in 2022 and the government retained three strategic axes to follow up on: 

  • Creation of an investment fund in critical minerals for the energy transition as part of a public-private initiative. This fund would contribute to securing the critical minerals supply for the French and European industry through long-term supply contracts. 
  • Creation of an observatory of critical minerals with BRGM and the Comité stratégique de la Filière Mines et Métallurgies. 
  • Nomination of an interministerial delegate on critical minerals security of supply who would coordinate actions and decisions from various parts of the administration with the close involvement of industry.  
  • As part of the acceleration strategy dedicated to batteries, and under the joint supervision of CEA and CNRS, elaboration of a technological roadmap shared by industry and public research on metals for next-generation batteries. 
  • Translation of the concept of a “responsible mine” into a norm or label that can be certified in relation to the regulation on batteries currently reviewed at the European level. 

The report mission also successfully reinforced the dynamics between local ecosystems for the establishment of industrial facilities in the intermediate stages of added value (refining, battery components, recycling). The government is supporting initiatives taken by local authorities and manufacturers to set up industrially and ecologically efficient platforms, notably in Dunkirk for battery metals and in Lacq for permanent magnets.

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