Critical Raw Materials: France and Kazakhstan to Cooperate

by | 2. Nov 2023 - 11:01 | Politics

Agreement signed during Macron’s state visit to the Central Asian country.

France and Kazakhstan want to cooperate in the field of critical raw materials. French President Emmanuel Macron signed a corresponding agreement with his Kazakh counterpart, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Macron arrived in the Central Asian country on Wednesday for a state visit.

In addition to raw materials cooperation, other joint projects are set to be implemented, for example in the fields of agriculture, transport and logistics, and healthcare. An agreement was also signed on a joint venture for constructing wind power plants with a total capacity of one gigawatt in Kazakhstan. France is one of Kazakhstan’s largest trading partners and investors, Tokayev said, with more than 170 French companies already operating in Kazakhstan.

Oil-rich Kazakhstan has already become a substitute supplier for many European countries since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is also expected to contribute to the EU’s supply of raw materials to reduce dependence on China. A strategic partnership on minerals, batteries, and green hydrogen was concluded over a year ago. The United Kingdom and Germany want to expand their cooperation with Kazakhstan on raw materials. Of the 30 minerals the EU considers critical, Kazakhstan can supply 16, government sources said at the time, with the remaining 14 also available. The U.S. Geological Survey (PDF) lists 160 rare earth deposits in the country alone.

China also negotiated recently with its neighboring country about possible supplies of rare earths (we reported). Like the EU, the People’s Republic is trying to get closer to Kazakhstan, which has been distancing itself from its most important partner since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Photo: iStock/Aleksandra Aleshchenko

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