List Of France Natural Resources, Location Found And Their Uses. France is one of the most powerful states in the world. It is ranked as 6th with an economy that is behind the United States, Japan, China, United Kingdom, and Germany. Much of the country’s economy is fueled by trade and agriculture due to the presence of vast tracts of arable land which supports all forms of agricultural activities that range from timber production to food crops. However, France has a surprisingly limited reserve when it comes to natural resources. The heavy exploitation that occurred during the industrial revolution which played a huge role in what France is today caused the depletion of most of the natural resources that were abundant across the country. 

List Of France Natural Resources

   In comparison to the country’s agricultural resources, the country is not well endowed with energy resources. There is an estimation of 140 million tons for the coal reserves in the country but the country’s coal suffered difficulty to mine from its mediocre quality and the excessive spending it incurs. The annual production of coal in 1958 amounted to 60 million tons but dropped to less than 6 million tons in 1998. The last coal mine was closed down in 2004. Energy resources are short in supply in the country. 

List Of France Natural Resources And Their Uses

  • Coal

Coal was an essential resource of high significance in the industrial revolutionary wave that swept across European countries with France included. In 1800, there were colossal coal reserves in the country which were depleted over time due to overuse. The coal had the quality that was too low and was not capable of competing with coals from other nations, and most of it was domestically used instead. Changes in the world and the discovery of other energy sources caused a drastic reduction in coal mining in France until it was eventually stopped in 2004. The need to conserve the environment brought about switching to other environmentally friendly sources of energy. A pledge was made by the current French president to shut down all coal mining activities by the year 2021 in France.

  • Uranium

The Massif Central had deposits of uranium which had uranium ore reserves at one time and was estimated at 50,000 tonnes. The country has a very high demand for energy which the uranium deposits were unable to meet. In 2001, uranium mining came to an end in France; hence, the country was forced to turn to the importation of uranium for coverage of more than half of the annual energy consumption. Niger was one of the primary sources for Uranium. In 2010, the country had more than 59 active nuclear plants. Those nuclear plants contributed around 94.6% of all the primary electricity that was used around the country in homes and factories. 

  • Natural Gas And Oil

In Lacq, the south-western region of France, natural gas was first discovered in 1957. Approximately 8.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas were estimated underground and ready for extraction. In 1958, the production of natural gas started but declined in 1978 after the reserves were depleted. Natural gas production was negligible by the end of millennia. The country had too little natural gas to support the country’s need; hence, the country was forced to import. The country’s primary sources of income came principally from the North Sea ( Norway and the Netherlands), Russia, and Algeria. 

The country has only a few oil reserves, and the production was extremely limited. The oil came from wells in the Paris Basin and Aquitaine. Being the country’s principal energy import, there has been the growth of a major refining industry with plants concentrated in two locations; the lower Seine valley (Rouen and Le Havre), and in the region surrounding Fos-sur-Mer and the Ètang de Berre. The pipeline supplies most markets with oil products. The pipeline is also the distribution method for natural gas. Imports from Algeria arrive in France in the form of liquefied natural gas and are offloaded at the French ports. Regasification plants operate at the port. 

  • Hydroelectric Energy

Hydroelectric energy is the most important source of renewable energy in France despite how much nuclear power is vital. Hydroelectric energy accounts for 19.7% of the country’s installed capacity and it is second to nuclear energy. There are many rivers running through the country’s vast landscape. Waterfall created by the river is backed by reservoirs and dams that are harnessed for electricity production for the masses. In central France, the Eguzon Dam is among the main stations producing a substantial percentage of the total output. Water from the dam is gotten from Creuse River and the river is about 61 meters high.

  •  Bauxite

In 1821, Bauxite was first discovered in France in the Foix mining district in the Brignoles region. Strangely, not much has happened since the discovery of this particular bauxite mine, although the area has been undergoing regular maintenance, there has been no large scale mining of the bauxite itself; therefore, most of the deposits are left untouched. This has been ascribed to the non-viability of a massive extracting operation and the people involved considered the bauxite deposit too minute to validate considerable extraction undertakings. The negligence of Bauxite production does not affect other mineralized ores such as those containing zinc, lead, and silver which are mined in very small quantities. Large amounts of minerals are produced, the likes of; potash from Alsace, sodium chloride from mines in Franche-Comte and Lorraine and also from salt marshes in southern and western France, and sulfur derived from Aquitaine from natural gas. The trend of those minerals is also likely to decline as their outputs and reserves are depleting. Stone’s supply, as well as sand and gravel, are relatively everywhere. 

  • Wind Energy 

France was ranked the 8th largest wind power nation in 2015. The country produced a total of 10.38 MW of electricity. The landscape’s nature and the immense land area in France have given the country an immense potential of making the most of wind energy production. This has gone a long way in the reduction of the strain on nuclear and hydroelectric energies. It was indicated in future predictions that the country will be able to produce 26,000 MW by 2023.

  • Thermal And Solar Energy

As the world’s reliance on nuclear energy and natural gas is being reduced, there is a worldwide exploration of environmentally friendly sources of energy. A first geothermal power station was inaugurated in France in 2016 with the intention of providing an alternative to wind energy. France has keenly been engaged in production of solar power with a total output of about 7,165 MW in 2016. The strategic location of the country has allowed it to receive long hours of sunshine directly making solar energy a possible option.

  • Iron Ore

The principal source of iron ore in France is Lorraine. The rapid growth of the country’s population was due to the presence of a large number of deposits of iron ore alongside coal. The country was traditionally an important producer of bauxite and iron ore. Steel industries that depend on iron ore made Lorraine their home for a while, and the depletion of the deposits over time and competition from other countries made most of the steel industries close down. The ores from Lorraine were difficult to agglomerate and low in metal content, hence, they were supplemented and thus replaced by richer supplies overseas from countries like Sweden, Brazil, and Australia. The government is making efforts towards revitalizing Lorraine back to its old glory. Most of the residents of Lorraine turned towards agriculture.

  The country’s demand for different forms of energy has changed over time considerably. Coal was the major provider of the larger part of the energy needs. In 1960, the fall in oil price in its real term awoke its usage in greater quantities. In 1973, two-thirds of the consumption of energy was accounted for by crude oil, hence, a more diversified pattern of use was arrived at since then. Coal played a minor role afterward and the use of oil also declined. They were partly replaced by natural gas and profitably by nuclear energy. Nuclear energy now amounts to more than one-third of primary energy consumption. One of the consequences brought about by this revolution was the reduction in the country’s previously high reliance on external sources of supply. 

  Renewable energy resources (such as solar power and wind power) gained new prominence in the early 21st century. In 2010, the percentage generated by wind power in electricity consumption was three. The wind potential of the country was the second-largest in Europe. The country’s installed solar capacity increased and new facilities were planned to be installed in accordance with renewable energy directives. The increase in solar capacity was almost 700 percent between 2009 and 2011 and it represented 4 percent of the world’s total by 2.5 gigawatts production. 

There you have it on the list of France’s natural resources and their uses.


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