What Are the Natural Resources of France?

The main natural resources of France are iron ore, salt, sulfur, bauxite, zinc, uranium, antimony, arsenic, potash, feldspar, fluorspar and gypsum. The country also has substantial amounts of renewable energy and is known for its extensive timber and fishing industries.

France’s mineral resources have been heavily depleted over the years, but it still has significant deposits of potash (in Alsace), uranium (in the Massif Central), salt (in Lorraine and Franche-Comté) and sulfur (in Aquitaine). Coal used to be the main mineral resource, but the last mine was closed in 2004. Sources of bauxite, lead, zinc and silver still exist, albeit in very small amounts.

France’s fishing industry is an important resource, although not as fruitful as it was in the past. Shellfish are abundant on the Atlantic coast, while the country’s Mediterranean coast has fisheries on a much smaller scale. Forests of pine and fir mean that wood lumber, paper and pulp resources are available, although demand does exceed its availability.

Wind and hydro-electric power are fast becoming vital resources in France, with the country’s mountainous terrain and blustery conditions producing plenty of energy. Wind power generates nearly 3 percent of the electricity used by France, and may well increase as the country has the second largest wind resource in Europe.