Guillaume Pitron

Journalist and documentary maker
Author of "The rare metals war: the hidden face of the energy and digital transition"
Guillaume Pitron is a journalist (Le Monde Diplomatique, National Geographic, etc.) and a documentary maker for France’s leading television channels. In 2018, he published his first book, "The rare metals war: the hidden face of the energy and digital transition" (LLL Editions).

From Chinese rare earth metals, oil extraction in Alaska, to Sudanese gum arabic and khat trading in Djibouti, he focuses his work on commodities and on the economic, political and environmental issues associated with their use. This common thread is paired with geographic consistency: the African continent, particularly South Africa where Guillaume was a news correspondent in 2010.

To date, he has authored around 100 reports, investigations and documentaries across more than 40 countries and has been awarded 14 French and international journalism awards. These include the Izraelezewicz Prize for best investigative report of the year, awarded by the leading daily newspaper Le Monde, and the award for best economic book of the year 2018.
The resources race is on. Powering our smartphones are some of the Earth's most precious metals – but they are running out. And what will happen when they do?

Drawing on six years of research across a dozen countries, The Rare Metals War shows that the digital revolution has a hidden dark side. By breaking free of fossil fuels, we are in fact setting ourselves up for a new dependence on rare metals such as cobalt, gold, and palladium.

They are essential to electric vehicles, fighter jets, wind turbines, and solar panels, and also to our smartphones, computers, tablets, and other everyday connected objects. China has captured the lion's share of the rare metals industry, but consumers know very little about how they are mined and traded, or the environmental, economic, and geopolitical costs.