Minerals of France

Pyrenees mountains on the map
The bowels of France are rich in iron ore, bauxite, potash and rock salts – significant reserves of natural gas, coal, oil, and uranium ores. The main deposits of iron ore are confined to the Jurassic limestone strata of Lorraine – the iron ores of Normandy and Brittany, associated with the Paleozoic folded structures of the Armorican massif, are of less importance.

The main bauxite deposits are concentrated in the south of France among Jurassic, limestones (Dangedoc, Alpes-Maritimes). Potassium salt lies in the tectanic depressions of Alsace, rock salt – in Lorraine and Jurassic. Coal deposits are confined to the foothill depressions of the Hercynian mountains in northern France and Lorraine; small deposits of coal are available in the Central Massif. The largest oil and natural gas deposits in France are located in the pre-Pyrenees trough in southern Aquitaine, as well as in Alsace.

France has many mineral springs concentrated mainly in the volcanic regions of the Central Massif. More important energy resources are uranium reserves in the Central Massif and the energy of mountain rivers, especially the Rhone and its alpine tributaries. In the future, it will be possible to use large energy reserves of the tides, reaching 12–16 m off the coast of the country. The country is rich in natural building materials.

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