Patrice Christmann / Deputy director of BRGM's corporate strategy directorate, in charge of BRGM's mineral resources strategy

Last updated on profile page : February 12th, 2013


Patrice Christmann is a geologist, specialized in economic geology. He owns a Ph.D. in geosciences obtained in 1979 from the University of Grenoble (France) and a master level degree from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris, obtained in 1993.

During his studies he worked as a junior geologist with the Ministry for natural resources of Québec (Canada), and did his field work on the Copper Cliff Cu-Au deposit, near Chibougamau in preparation of his Ph.D. He entered BRGM in 1977, and worked eight years in geological mapping and mineral exploration in Iran and Yemen. In its International Directorate, which he joined in 1985, he managed project development in several world regions. From 1997 to 2000 he worked three years as a seconded national expert with the European Commission (DG Development), in Brussels, in the mineral resources domain. He returned to Brussels a second time from 2004 to 2009, as the Secretary-General of EuroGeoSurveys, the Association of 33 European geological surveys. He then returned to BRGM to become the head of its Mineral Resources department.

Since September 2010 he is deputy director of BRGM's Corporate strategy directorate, in charge of BRGM's mineral resources strategy. In this position he coordinates BRGM's contribution to the French committee on strategic metals and to the European Commission's raw materials initiative.
Since June 2010, he is a member of the UNEP International Resources Panel (

He is a member of the High-Level Group that steers the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials.

His areas of interest are public policies related to the sustainable management of natural resources and mineral raw materials economics.

By Patrice Christmann on ParisTech Review

Nos arrière-grands-parents utilisaient à peine une dizaine de métaux différents. Aujourd'hui, les objets de notre vie quotidienne comprennent plus d'une centaine d'éléments chimiques : pratiquement la totalité du tableau de Mendeleïev. Les matières premières minérales sont indispensables au fonctionnement d'une économie moderne, et en particulier au déploiement des nouvelles technologies. Les cours de certains métaux ont connu des flambées ces dernières années, et la compétition est vive pour l'accès aux ressources. Mais, au fait, que sait-on précisément de ces ressources ?
Our great-grandparents barely used a dozen different metals. Today, household objects contain virtually the entire periodic table. Mineral raw materials are vital to the functioning of a modern economy, in particular where deploying new technologies is concerned. The prices for some metals have experienced meteoric rises in recent years, and competition is fierce for access to resources. As a matter of fact, what do we know about these resources exactly?
Among critical mineral resources, rare earth metals occupy a special place because they are part of the core of many future technologies: electric cars, smartphones, wind turbines. Resources are now concentrated in the hands of a few players. Can this situation be reversed? What are the risks entailed for industrial sectors downstream of production?
Parmi les ressources minérales critiques, les terres rares occupent une place à part, car elles sont au cœur de nombreuses technologies d'avenir : voitures électriques, smartphones, éoliennes. Les ressources sont aujourd'hui concentrées entre les mains de quelques acteurs. Cette situation peut-elle s'inverser ? Quels sont les risques pour les secteurs industriels situés en aval de la production ?

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