The Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, said on Friday (December 3rd): France must not forbid itself in terms of extraction. While the demand for rare metals is booming, like lithium, used in particular to make batteries, the government is interested in mining in compliance with environmental rules. “The Covid crisis has shown that we need to recover our sovereignty over a certain number of very important materials (…) and, therefore, I believe that nothing should be forbidden”, argued Ms. Pompili on BFM Business.
Mining is a particularly sensitive subject among environmentalists, who regularly denounce the devastation wreaked on the environment and biodiversity by the exploitation of such and such a mine in the world. “We have to look at what there is in our country and that we could perhaps avoid importing from countries where it will be collected in a way that is not very interesting for the environment,” said the minister herself. from an ecological party.
“We know we have lithium in France,” she said. This critical material is used in the manufacture of electric batteries or wind turbines, which are two of the pillars of the energy transition intended to fight against global warming. However, most of the world’s lithium resources are exploited by China.
“We need to see if it’s worth collecting in France. And in those cases, (…) we need environmental clearances to be able to launch new mines, ”she said. “This means that we can eventually have mines, but they will be much more environmentally friendly than what is happening elsewhere in the world. ”
“We have to find out what is going on in our seabed”
“Saying to yourself, it’s okay, we let pollute elsewhere by closing our eyes (…) No, that’s not okay. Me, I prefer that we do things at home, and that we do them well “she said. “You have to know what you want,” added the Minister. Asked about the possibility of finding at the bottom of the oceans other metals or minerals necessary for ecological transition, she also replied that “nothing should be forbidden”.
“The seabed is sometimes less well known than what happens in the universe or on the moon, so we need to find out what is happening in our seabed. Do you have to take everything for that? No, it will have to be done in a very careful, reasoned way, ”she said.